Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ride the Divide

Has been playing on the Documentary Channel at times this week. Watching it right now. So magical. I really wanted to make that the plan for this coming year but after kind of a dismal summer, I'm not real sure anymore. This is not something that I'd wanna committ to half assed. I wanna know for sure that it's the one egg in the basket very early on. I also kind of romanticize about moving back home with my family and then coming back for the grandest of tours with a fly rod, camera, and no real schedule. Maybe I could even coax a good friend to ride it with me. How bout it?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pictures never show how steep it really is.

Looking down on the switchbacks.

Slate comes up this whole valley.

This is where Slate starts to climb. It's not horrible but it just never ends.

The scenery doesn't suck along the way.

I forgot to grab my camera for the first lap. This is Slate River with gin clear water.

This is just a few hundred yards out of town

This was Friday evening as I got into town. This guy was flying around Mt. Crested Butte.

Losing interest

Not sure what happened this weekend but it may have something to do with losing interest in going fast and gaining even more interest in looking around. I was in a really horrible mood when I left work and remained that way until I got into Buena Vista. I stopped for coffee and a Snickerdoodle and then started over Cottonwood Pass in a bit better mood. The Aspens looked amazing. I took care of some food business in Gunnison and then made my way up to Crested Butte and found a spot in an Aspen grove (right next to the Slate River) to put my head down. I built a fire, watched the flames, watched the moon come up, drank a coupla beers and drifted off to sleep.

The parking lot in the middle of town was full of about 100 riders the next morning. It was about 32 degrees but I thought it felt nice. For some reason everybody left me while I was still sitting in the car. I got out and saw the group leaving town but caught back on by the time we hit the gravel road. There were many of the usual suspects there from the Gunnison Valley (and I don't think there's any slow dudes in that entire area and most of them were riding single speeds). We finally hit singletrack and I knew right away it was gonna be a looooong day. I just didn't feel good and was too busy looking at stuff. I felt like poop the first lap. Like when you look down thinking, "I'm still in the big ring" and then realize you're in the small ring.

Back at the car I realized that my front caliper was loose and had been rubbing but even that's not that much resistance. I just had nothing. I made the repair and looked over the rest of the bike, downed some food and took off for lap 2. Last year this lap was my nemesis. I walked tons of it. It starts off with some singletrack leaving town and then hits a gravel road called Slate D'Huez. It was slow going and I felt like more poop but I was able to climb all of it. I rode most of that climb going back and forth with some local guy. He'd stop to put on sunscreen and offer me some as I'd pass. I'd stop to take photos and he'd pass. He'd stop to get a bite to eat and ask if I wanted some as I went by. I'd stop to take more pics. Finally, he stopped to smoke a bowl and asked if I wanted to join him (I declined) and I didn't see him again. Maybe it was some good shit? About halfway up Slate there was a truck parked with some rowdy people around it. When I approached, a guy ran down to me and was yelling and asked me what I needed. I asked what he had and he said, Coke, Jack Daniels, Pabst, and..............bacon. So....I had a Coke and some bacon.

After lap 2, I did not feel so hot. I sat in the car, called Heather and tried to get some food down. I was gonna give myself an hour to rest. I ended up heading out after about 45 minutes. The climb out of town just would not end. Up at Lake Irwin it keeps climbing and then turns to trail. The trail ends up dumping you back on a road and then you have to climb 5 miles back up Kiebler Pass and then it's probably 7 miles back to town. The temps were nice (mid 50's and not a cloud in the sky) but even while climbing, I was getting cold. I stopped to put on 2 base layers, fleece gloves, a hat, and finally......a jacket. Right before hitting the trail I started to get worried. I stopped to think things over and then ended up turning around and heading back into town. It was a fantastic day in the mountains. I was right at 12 hours on the bike with somewhere between 85 and 90 miles and maybe 13,000ish' of climbing. Couldn't have asked for a nicer day. Tough guy Kelly Magelky finished the route in 8 hours and 13 minutes which is mind boggling. Didn't see a ton of familiar faces but I did spend a good bit riding and talking with Jefe Branham and I hadn't seen him since last August on the Colorado Trail. He's always a great guy to spend time with.

I made it back to the car and got semi-cleaned up and then decided to get on the road. I ended up getting home at 10 or so. I want to do more of the longer stuff but I'm really beginning to want to be on my own schedule. It absolutely pained me to pass up all the gorgeous water I saw without getting to know some of the beautiful trout that call it home.

Gotcher hall pass brah??

Many of us try to get creative in the hall pass department at my school. Last year I used a plastic children's sandbox tool set (bucket, rake, and scoop). However, one of my students got pissed off and threw it and eventually we just had a scoop with my picture on it. The picture didn't last long (I'm sure one of my students took it and it's propped up on their nightstand). Finally, the scoop ended up with just the handle portion. This year I've been on the hunt for something different. I have a lot of students this year that think they're bad. Now when they need a drinky poo or have to go potty they can really strut their stuff.

Then again....I might just wear it and intimidate everyone.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Because I've assumed a bit more responsibility at work this year, I'm fielding quite a bit more phone calls from concerned parents. It's been yet another tough week and I'm glad it's Friday. My bike is cleaned and ready to go. The green car is packed. My Principal said I could cut out of work an hour early (although I probably won't though) to get over there faster. My plan is to leave asap and head to Buean Vista and then go over Cottonwood Pass and take in the shitty scenery. Then I'll drive along the Taylor River and head into Gunnison. I'll get my food sorted at Safeway and then grab a pie before heading out of town. I'm gonna sleep under the stars by a creek that I rode next to for a bit last year after I pulled the plug on the CTR. Then in the morning I'll head back into what is my favorite town (I'm still pissed off that things didn't work out here and that Colorado has such a shitty take on education) and grab some really early morning breakfast before heading into the Butte'er to catch up with some old friends. This is just one little adventure I'm hoping to bag before the snow hits (although when I let the dogs out this morning we already had fresh snow at higher elevations around town). I'm really excited to ride this weekend. The weather is supposed to be wonderful (low's at 30 and high of 65ish). No storms expected like the last time I was over there for this event. I have no idea what kind of shape I'm in and.......I really don't care. I just wanna appreciate some of the things that I know I will soon not be able to see from my deck. I'm bringing my lights. In a way I hope I'm done before it gets dark but.......I really don't care. I like riding at night on trails. If I finish early enough I'll come home to Heather. If I take longer than expected, I'll find a tree to sleep under and come home on Sunday.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Last night my one neighbor called me from his other house in New Orleans. He's coming into town tomorrow and wanted to know how the weather was. I started to rub it in but then I realized that the very humble house that Heather and I call home is actually his vacation getaway. He has a house in the mountains that he comes to for the summer and some random weeks throughout the year. I can barely afford it alone. Foiled again!!

Saturday I got out for 3 hours on the road bike. It was pretty gorgeous.

Sunday I rode up to Rampart Reservoir and did a lap up there before heading back home. It was stellar as always. It's starting to get to that point where the trail is littered with golden Aspen leaves. It looks fantastic and it's getting quiet too.

It was pretty hot on Sunday. Had to be 81 degrees.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Things are pretty tricky at work right now. I think everyone is feeling the budget cuts and the stress of larger classrooms, being asked to do more for the same pay, etc. I'm trying to use it a learning experience. Even though I'm pretty cooked when I get home, I'm also trying to get out as much as I can in the evenings and enjoy the outdoors. The Crested Butte Classic is less than 2 weeks away now and I'm super excited to ride over there and see some old friends and enjoy the beautiful scenery and changing Aspens. Tonight I decided to get out for some singletrack. I drove up to Rampart and did a lap around the reservoir. I saw NO ONE. It was just me and Nickelback. It wasn't long at all before I was ear to ear.

I spied this small herd of Elk hiding in the trees. There's a lone one just coming up the hillside and the rest were bedded down by the Aspens on the right. Gorgeous.

I love this time of year. The evening light, colorful trees, leaves on the ground, cool air.

I hadn't been up here probably since just before I was supposed to start the CTR. The trail was in excellent shape the last time I rode it but tonight it was difficult. There has been tons of erosion from all the rain. This hill used to be rideable but the ditch down the middle now is a foot deep. The entire trail was really loose and rocks that were sticking up a foot back then are now up a foot and a half. The trail was really different. It felt like I hadn't ridden there in 10 years.

I usually ride this loop clockwise and the end of the 13 miles runs right in those Aspens not far from the shore.

It was unreal how much the water level has dropped since August. That boulder on the right was damn near submerged back then.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Facebook is the rake. A few years ago I guess, my good friend TK calls and says I gotta check out his FB page. So I go to do so and then am told that I have to register before I can view it. Reluctantly, I register. Then I find out that by registering I have actually created a page of my own. I look at TK's and while it's nice....I have no desire to do the same. In fact...FB scares the crap outta me. I feel like I'm standing in the middle of Grand Central Station with my pants around my ankles. Now...every once in a while I get messages in my Yahoo email about someone crawling outta the woodwork to get back in touch with me. In my mind...the people I want to stay hidden from far outweigh the ones I wouldn't mind saying hi to and even further outweigh the ones that I'd lay down in traffic for.

I present Exhibit A: a few weeks back I get an email linked from FB from a perfect stranger asking me if my mother's name is so and so and that she's been trying to locate me for some time. I was speechless. I am speechless still. I'm also a bit angry. My family is the epitomy of dysfunctionality and it's a wonder how the hell I turned out as well rounded as I did (I hear some of you laughing). I still recall the day when my friend Tim said to me, "How many times do you need to get the door shut in your face by your own blood before you get the point?" Reluctantly, and with tremendous sadness, it was those words that I think finally pushed me along in the right direction.

Exhibit B arrived in my inbox a few days ago and it's from my cousins wife. I have three cousins. I wouldn't say I'm particularly close with any of them (again...the lessons I learned throughout life were that distance/caution are a good thing). Not one of these people even bothered to RSVP about my wedding. My aunt (their mother who also didn't show at my wedding or even bother to send a simple card) passed away a few weeks ago. For that I am truly sorry. I tried to be as big a person as I could and sent flowers and a card. I don't think my cousins wife is happy with me.

May you rest in peace Aunty M.

Bike cop

Yesterday I was getting ready to go on a ride when my McNulty senses started to tingle (and it wasn't from the chamois cream either). Something was rotten in Denmark. I won't go into detail because well....that's classified. I will say that I was able to ride around town in brightly colored lycra looking for one of Woodland Park's finest. I finally tracked one down who was in the middle of a B and E (that's breaking and entering to you citizens) call. Said officer was pretty much blowing me off until I showcased my inner detective skills and told her that not only could I tell her who had done the B and E but also where they currently were in our fair town. Long story short....I solved the crime my first day on the job. I asked when the department would be doing their next meeting as I felt the need to de-brief the rest of the troops on the incident but humor in it she failed to find. Even though I personally feel that a key to the city is in order, I would settle for a plastic badge.

The entire episode reminded me all too well of some of the crazies that we encountered while working at the first Big Shark Bicycles location down in the Loop. Back when things were real and mostly unchecked. There was one short statured guy in particular who rode around every day, all day, up and down the sidewalks and busy street. He simply called himself, and we all obliged, "the bike cop". Oh he was more than a tad mentally unstable but, then again, that was par for the Delmar Boulevard course. What he lacked in real sirens he more than made up for with his wailing voice. He even had a small memo pad that he kept on him and would use a real pen or pencil to write tickets to unsuspecting violators. Oh the tickets were fake but they were all to real to him. If someone argued then he'd eagerly up the ticket to resisting. During the hottest part of the summer, when the action was at it's peak, he would even come into the small confines of the shop with his musky scent and provide us with status reports or come in for the occassional repair (which was always on the house). Kinda makes me wish I could re-kindle those days. We sure had some good times. Don't know where you are now bike cop but I hope you're still writing tickets.

I may actually have an idea for something here. Lemme marinate on things tonight for a bit eh?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

One more of one of the Coupes.

We found this one at the very end. The paint was in bad shape but at least he got it pretty right with the wheels. I had a friend named John back in high school that had one of these split bumpers with a 350 in it. He was doing donuts in it (pretty sure he was stoned at the time) and lost control and drove it through the front of a Toys R Us.

Always like going to car shows. The real disappointment of the day though was.....NO FUNNEL CAKES!!!! What he hell?
There were a few Cobra's on display and those always get me excited. There's a guy in town that has a red one and I was hoping he'd have his there but...not so much.

This rotary motor was stuffed into a Ferrari that was kinda odd.

It was for sale for 15 grand.

Another Cobra.

This was a really neat 69 Fastback. It was leaking oil like a sieve from the case halves though (like all of them do) and that gives me the hee bee jee vees.

Another nice Challenger.

This was a cool 65 Thunderbird that I had to pull Heather away from. She almost created a domestic scene.

Super nice old Ford pickup. Love the color and the bed was immaculate.

1970 Cuda 440 six pack. Another car that I was jealous of even when driving my Camaro.

I loves me a 1970 split bumper Z28. I saw this one down the street and was giddy to have a look at it but was pretty disappointed when I came around to see these wheels and the fact that it looks to spend it's days on the drag track instead of cruisin'.

Another 32 Ford in flat black with some awesome pinstripes.

Cool old Van. Not quite sure how the guy got it to the show or how he's getting it home either since we all know it's not doing it under it's own power.

More from the 32 Ford.

There's quite a few older hot rods that we see out here but not many look as sexy as this 32 Ford Coupe. I love the flat black and it had some really nice pinstripes on it too.

I'm so bummed that not all of the pics of this car came out and almost walked back up to get a better whole car shot. This is a 68 Camaro SS that was heavily worked over. That's a 548cid motor that's running 14.5:1 compression and putting out about 950hp with no bottle.

Interior of the 68.

Carbon fiber cowl hood and a really nice black paint job that I couldn't capture. I think it was cuz I was shakin' like a puppy tryin' to pass a peach pit.

Pretty neat 70 Challenger.

Cruise to the Clouds

Last year we didn't check out the car show because of some bad weather that rolled in pretty quickly. We were pretty excited to wake up to a perfect day this morning though and decided to take the pups and go have a look. There were actually quite a few cars up there and a good variety too. While I do like all cars, I tend to gravitate towards the Chevies when it comes to the older ones. Probably has everything to do with the fact that my father was a huge Chevy fan.

I really like the Chevelle's and there were quite a few of them to see. This is a 1970 model that was in really nice shape. For me though....if the classic Chevy doesn't have Rally wheels it's never a good thing. The Cragar's are nice but not on this car.

Most of the time the owners of the cars were not there to talk with and that was the case with this kick ass 65 Chevelle. I'm not a real big Corvette buff but I'm pretty sure this is an LS1 out of a C5 model.

I usually don't like it too much when the car's been updated with modern stuff but this one was hot. I couldn't get nearly as good a look at any of the cars as I would have liked with the dogs there and all but this one had really nice suspension and aftermarket brakes. I'm sure it handles wonderfully.

This was actually the first car I looked at. A 1969 Yenko Camaro. I do not know if it was all original but if it was, it's one of 201 made in that year. I've always wanted a 69 Camaro even when I had my 68.

It was in good shape but I can do without the wheels.