On the way back up from Colorado Springs, we decided to count the medicinal marijuana dispensaries that we drove past. These were found along the 15 or so mile stretch from Springs up to Woodland. I counted 5 that I could see and I didn't get off highway 24. Had I gone into Old Colorado City, that number would have easily doubled and OCC runs parallel to 24 about a block north. That's insane. I could get a license to smoke pot for a hang nail or because I told my doctor that my butt hurts. It's really disturbing. I could get a license and then grow pot in my house. What the hell is going on? There are more dispensaries in Springs than there are McDonald's. This is a sore subject with me right now.
Saturday, April 30, 2011
The phone pictures from Target didn't turn out so well. We found these really cool bike helmets. Heather liked the one with rabbit ears while I fancied the lizard model. Did you know that Target carries the mens equivalent of Underoos? I got pictures of them but...they didn't take. The teachers at the high school that I work at kind of have this unspoken competition amongst us when it comes to hall passes. The guy next door to me has a ratty old briefcase that's held together by Duct tape. A gal down the other way has a crock pot. Our shop teacher welded up a really nice necklace and painted it gold with spray paint. Last year I had a sand pail and all of the associated tools zip-tied to it but someone got pissed off (not me) and threw it and it broke. This year I have a UFC championship belt. Tonight I got another one. It's an inflatable pool ring that looks like a monkey. If someone pops it then they can lug it around deflated. That's almost more funny anyway. I also got a picture of a really hot Rolls Royce in the parking lot.
Even though I am protesting this cool, springtime weather (although the pictures actually look like it was nice) I forced myself to get out for 3.5 hours today. I have a big ride planned 2 weeks from now and I'm a little nervous about it so I can't afford to sit around in PJ's eating Bon Bons while I wait for it to get warm. I went back down to Colorado Springs to ride the Santa Fe Trail. The wind was blowing stupid hard and it only got worse the further north I headed. It ended up taking me 2 hours exactly to get up to Monument (22 miles). Then it took me right at an hour and a half to get back down to Colorado Springs.
This was right by the Air Force Academy. There's a small airstrip somewhere in the area that I think mostly services really small planes but it also services a lot of gliders. There should be 4 in this picture.
Heather mentioned going to Outback Steakhouse for dinner and that was all I could think about the entire ride. I had a steak, some scrimps, a killer salad, veggies, and a baked potato. Then I went to Baskin Robbins and got ice cream. We ended the night by going to Target to get dog food.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Has absolutely been horrible lately. I road the trainer last weekend and all week long. Marshal called me today and wanted to know if I wanted to get out for a mountain bike ride. I really didn't wanna ride outside but I also really didn't wanna ride in the garage again. So we lucked out and hit a little window right after a snow/rain storm and got on some singletrack.
I've ridden by this spot hundreds of times and I never knew there was a trail down in that little saddle. It's probably because most of the time I'm up here there's always people shooting guns and using that hill in the foreground as a backstop so I get out of there as fast as possible. In this photo you can also see that the Alma is built up with gears again. I built it with XT stuff that has been in a box for a while now. I love the way my SRAM carbon cranks look but nothing shifts like a set of Shimano chainrings. I was not going to build it back up for several more months but......I did.
Found this really cool log cabin kinda thing. Someone put some serious time into this thing. They actually cut out each of the logs to accept the next. I think I'm gonna camp inside of it this summer when I'm doing short overnighters to test things like my bivy and pad and bag.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Anyone that knows me knows that I have always had a soft spot for dogs. If I could have 50 dogs I would. I would gladly sleep on the floor if they took up all the room in the bed. My dear friend Tim and his wife Deanna recently lost their Dalmation Rocky. Deanna got Rocky as a pup and he gave her and her family 13 years of love. I don't know the circumstances surrounding his demise but it doesn't matter. It's still unfortunate. I don't have a close family other than Heather and my own dogs so I've never dealt with the loss of a true loved one. May you rest in peace Rocky. You will be missed. I hope you run forever in endless fields.
The lone racer in Arizone busted hump to get to the Grand Canyon this morning only to find out that the backcountry office didn't have a permit to give him. Surely they could have given up 1 permit for the guy????? So now he's gonna hang out and hope for a permit in the morning. Keep on truckin' Max!! What a bad ass.
Monday, April 25, 2011
There is one lone rider left in AZTR 750. His name is Max and tonight he is just south of the Grand Canyon. He will begin the 25ish mile hike with his bike on his back probably tomorrow in the early morning. You can check his progress at www.trackleaders.com/aztr
What an inspirational ride.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Every time Heather and I run errands down in Colorado Springs we grab a product from Honey Stinger to try it out so I can know what I really like before placing a food order direct from them. I absolutely love their Energy Chews. Yesterday we were at Dick's Sporting Goods and I grabbed several of the waffles. These things are fantastic and I'll be asking for several boxes of them. They are small and weigh next to nothing. They've got just a bit of honey inside of them. Each one has 160 calories and 21 grams of carbs.
A while back I lost one of my favorite knives that I used to always take with me on mountain bike rides. After I lost it, I found a really nice Leatherman tool that had a knife on it but I really don't need to lug along another tool on rides and, unfortunately, I recently lost that as well. So I've been looking for a replacement knife for a while. I am a big Gerber fan and always have been. I stopped at one store but they didn't have the exact model I was looking for but after one more stop I was holding it at the display counter.
This is the FAST Draw Mini. It comes with either a half serrated blade or a full fine edged blade. This same knife also comes in a bigger size but I wanted the smaller one. The blade/knife is pretty small so I wanted to go with no serrations. This is a spring assisted knife so all you have to do is take off the safety (just like a firearm) and start to move the thumb points and then the spring does the rest. It opens pretty quickly and then locks into place. The handle is some type of glass resin and I wish it was a bit more grippy but you can't have it all. I thought the blade was poorly sharpened out of the box. It did cut paper but after spending some time on it last night, it will now take your finger off.
I wasn't sure I liked it at first but after spending the day opening/closing it one handed, it was just a matter of getting used to it and now I really like it. It's a bit hard to get in your pocket because the thump points get hung up a bit on the fabric but that's something that I'll figure out. It's so small that it doesn't get in your way or feel like you're carrying a big knife once it's in your pocket and that's a nice change.
It will help build a shelter, cut para chord, cut small twigs for tinder, carve a stick into a spoon (which is always what I use to eat), and it will even be able to gut a small animal or fish if 'm in a situation where I need to eat and have to get creative. You can find it at Gerber dealers and it will set you back $25.
Friday, April 22, 2011
I am sooooooooo sick of riding in hurricane winds. We're getting some varying weather lately. 2 days ago I rode in 40 degree temps with howling winds and rain/snow/sleet. Today it was sunny out but colder and stupid winds. There's nothing quite like riding up a mountain pass with a headwind the whole way. I got a 2 hour road ride in today but I actually yelled at the wind several times. Probably the least frustrating ride I did this week was off road with Marshal. It was chilly but we got some cover from the pines. It was not leisurely though as we did some hill repeats. Not sure about that guy. Who's doing hill repeats at 8500'? I was riding my singlespeed that day and, I'll admit, I did curse him a few times. I start training soon and have a big ride planned to kick things off. I was hoping to get in some decent hours on the road to prep for things this weekend but we're supposed to get rain and snow.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Today, Lynda (of LW Coaching) finished crushing the Arizona Trail. Her total time was 3:04:38. She is the first female to finish the course and the winner this year. What an inspirational ride from a course that was beatin' up on some tough people this year. Way to go.
Those three words sum up tonight's mountain bike ride. First I saw this leg. It was a big leg but I couldn't find any other parts to this elk. It seemed like someone had dressed it because of how clean the cut was but it was also right next to a road. I looked around but didn't see anything else until I got a little further up. Then I found the hide. Critters had picked it pretty clean but it was definitely dressed. Again, right next to a road and maybe 100 yards up from the leg. Then a bit further up I found another leg. Then the head. I hate to be negative but I think this was a poaching incident. I sure hope not but I'm gonna call the DOW tomorrow and report it.
Then I continued on my merry way on a fire road. I came across this. What idiot actually takes the time and goes through the trouble to load up an unwanted hot tub and then drive it into the National Forest and dump it? Sometimes I get irritated when our trash service won't take certain things but the solution is to take whatever it is (as long as it's not bad for the environment like paint or motor oil) up to the next town and pay a small fee to dump it. That's what I had to do with our dryer. This infuriates me that someone would be so friggin' rude and have such a complete lack of respect for the outdoors. What's worse is that no more than 100 yards before this I saw a refrigerator on the side of the road. End of rant.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Heather's Jeep is crying out for one on one attention. I've had huge issues with the steering components. Now that I've replaced almost all of them I have a new issue in that same area. Apparently the parts that I got from Quadratec are NOT oem replacement stuff like they said. I feel confident that it's safe to drive now but I'm very annoyed with it. I took it to a guy that is in a Jeep club that I used to be involved with when I had my Jeep so that he could check it out. We were able to narrow the issue down to 2 of the 4 new tie rod ends that I just installed. They are loose and, thus, garbage.
Frank just started his own business called Serious Offroad Products. Right now he's working out of his garage but I could see this business going somewhere. He's very well informed about all Jeep models (and many other vehicles as well) and he's got great attention to detail. He had recently built a 1 ton steering setup for a Cherokee (stupid strong) and had the stock system laying in the garage. The tie rod ends felt pretty good so he let me have it so I can swap out those bad ones and send them back. If you need something for your offroad rig or you wanna put a cage in your drop top Mustang at least check him out.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
After I got done riding, Heather and I decided to go down to the Air Force Academy and watch a criterium. My buddy Dan who lives up in Brighton had come down to do the race and I hadn't seen him in a while. We saw this car on the way to the race. I wasn't sure what to think.
Crits are really fun to watch but this one could have used more racers and more corners. This was just after the start of the 60 minute Pro/1/2 race.
For today's ride I wanted to check out a location for an important workout that I'll have to do as soon as I start training. I drove out to Decker's which is not far out of town. I parked at the fly shop right on the river and road north on 67 for 10 miles and then turned around and came back. After I was warmed up I then headed back the other way on 67 towards Woodland Park. After about 5 minutes, the road starts to gradually climb as it winds through a small canyon and parallels a nice creek. This is where I road a 20 minute time trial. My heart stayed between 180 and 183 for the entire time. I didn't think I'd be able to keep it that high. After I was done I road back to the car and headed home. I'll do this workout one more time to determine my heart rate zones. I think it was pretty accurate but next time I'll start to monitor things as soon as I hit 180 instead of when I leave from the car. My average will probably go up a few beats but I want to be as accurate as I can this year.
This is actually heading back to Deckers after getting warmed up. The Platte looked to be in great shape and there was no shortage of people fishing.
Things are heating up in Arizona. Quite literally. The forecast was calling for temps of 95 for today. I believe this is much hotter than in years past for this event. I'm bummed for Marshal who decided to pull the plug due to the heat. He really enjoys riding in the desert so I know it was a tough decision for him but he knows what that trail is like and it is not something to get into if anything is questionable. Let's get in a fun ride together once you're back here in Woodland.
I was happy to see the Salsa crew of Kurt Refsnider and Joe Meiser out front this morning. Those 2 are absolutely killing it right now. I think Kurt is gonna do amazing things on a bike this year. Behind those two is Lynda Wallenfells and Dave Harris (both of LW Coaching fame). It's reassuring for me to have them helping me prep for this years race and see them both with their shit together in Arizona. Makes me believe that I made a good decision.
Friday, April 15, 2011
This race started this morning at 9. This is one that I would really like to do but I don't know that I'll ever be able to. Some teachers in my district take off during the year to go places but I have enough trouble calling in sick. I always feel like I owe it to my students to be there unless I'm puking. There are 2 options for this event. You can do the 300 miler or you can do the whole enchilada. That's 750 miles with a 25ish mile hike with a bike on your back. I think this year there are 3 people doing the 750 and one of them is my friend Marshal. My other buddy Kurt is doing the 300 miler. Kurt holds the record for both the 300 and the 750. He's in super bad shape and I'm sure he's just using this as a bit of training for another assault on the Tour Divide in June. You can follow everyone's blue dot here.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
I've decided to just spend time riding how I want to until I start officially training. Sometimes I ride hard. Sometimes I ride easy. Sometimes I fish. It's been a few weeks since I looked over my training plan but I thought I'd go for a road ride tonight and run a test to see what my max heart rate was. Right after doing it, and just before the lights were getting ready to go out, I realized that my heart zones are going to be calculated from the results of a 20 minute time trial and NOT from a max test. I realized this as I was dry heaving on the side of the road.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
I really wanted to fish 11 Mile Reservoir pretty hard today but there just wasn't much going on there. I managed to lose 3 spoons that run $5 a piece. After about 2 hours, I decided to get outta there. I headed for another part of the reservoir but just wasn't thrilled with the way things looked. So...being that the next reservoir was about 20 minutes away, I decided to book on over. I stopped to say a quick hello to the rangers doing boat inspection and then headed back to my favorite cove. The wind was howling and weather was blowing in over the Divide but I decided to put on my waders and get in the rough water.
Breckenridge is out there.
I kid you not. This was on my first cast and only after a couple bumps of the spoon along the bottom. Suck it Rambach!!!!!
I was wanting to get into some Pike today but they weren't in the shallows quite yet. The cold weather didn't help. In a few more weeks they'll move into the shallower water to sun and bow to my knife.
All in all I landed 5 Rainbow's and every one of them was just a hair under 20". When the one above hit, I really thought it was gonna be 20" and come home with me but I couldn't stretch her out. I lost that pink spoon shortly after releasing this fish. I switched to a gold spoon and got shut down for the next hour before getting out.
There's a little guy that pecks on our house and he is beginning to not only create a nice hole in the siding, but he's also rubbing me the wrong way. During the summer we have some issues with the woodpeckers but this is some other kind of non-woodpecker, pecker bird. It is tiny and I could fit it in my closed fist. So far I have beat on the wall, thrown an apple at him (with a near miss), and thrown a raquetball at him (I was tired, it was early, it was not a pretty effort). About a week ago, I decided to call in the big guns. I got an owl decoy. I first had it on the deck but then the dogs just stood at the window and barked and growled at it and that was equally maddening. Ideally, you wanna move it around once in a while so I decided to relocate it to a nearby tree. The other day I happened to be outside and actually saw this little bird drilling away at the house. He would stop and look over at the owl for a second and then go back to work. I saw him repeat this process several times before I ran around the corner yelling with my arms flailing. I'm going to move my owl friend today and also cut up some pie plates and attach those to the house but this is getting out of hand. I will admit that I did look at a few different BB guns and air soft guns last night at Walmart. I'm still researching but I'm almost positive he's not protected under the law. I need to get a pic of it and send it to my friend at the DOW. I really do not want to kill this bird. There's not much I could use from his body. Before I resort to shooting it I do think I am going to try a fist full of gravel.
In other news, Dharma ate a whole bag of buffalo wing flavored pretzels last night. She had to go out and poop at 3 in the morning.
Friday, April 8, 2011
I was going to ride tomorrow but instead, I decided to get my new fishing license. Now I'll get a good hike in as I head to the back coves of a reservoir just out of town that should be free of most of the ice by now. I will be looking for big Northern Pike but will also be thrilled with any Rainbows too. I'll eat the Pike though.
Monday, April 4, 2011
This is the ugly builders grade vanity and counter that we were originally working with. It wasn't horrible. Just generic. I don't think there's anything private under the sink.
Here's it is all done. We just had a giant mirror above the sink but I want to do something different but I'm crunched for time. Heather can't get ready in the morning in the bathroom and she's not happy about that. My plan is to cut the mirror down and then I'm going to frame it some nice moulding and paint it to match the vanity. Should look slick. I just gotta run down and get the moulding and then I'll build it at school in the wood shop.
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Every time I load pictures here I get them in backwards order. Oh well...deal with it. We've had some bathroom stuff down in the garage now for a week or so and I decided to go ahead and get after it today. The bathroom got new paint that turned out to be a bit more gray than we anticipated but we were trying to match it to granite that was special ordered so it was a bit of a challenge. These are the new fixtures that go with the new top and sink.
We debated about doing a new floor but it was already ceramic and not horrible to look at. The vanity is actually oak and I hate oak. Heather painted that with a glazed paint that's available from Rustoleum. She also did our bedroom furniture as well since it's ugly oak too. We did a new light fixture but I forgot to take a picture of it so you'll have to wait. I need to get a different p-trap tomorrow and fix some minor plumbing issues and it should be done. We also got brushed hardware for the vanity. It's always hard to get good shots of a bathroom but it should turn out nicely.
The screws supplied with the light were not long enough to mount it to the wall so I had to run to the store. I ended up getting some that were a bit longer than I needed so I was just gonna cut them down with a hacksaw. I damn near cut the top of my thumb off while doing that. Don't ask how. Uncharacteristic of me, I let the expletives fly (and loudly) right after doing it. It wasn't painful but I know better than to handle a tool in that fashion and that's all I'm saying.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
I've been going over bits of the training plan that I got from LW Coaching and I'm really excited to get on with it. I won't officially start with them until April 9 so, in the mean time I'm just going to ride when I feel like it. I already have more base mileage in than I did for that first attempt and I'm very confident I can work through the plan without candy assin' it. One of the things that shouldn't surprise is the difference in zones between where they want me to be and where I normally ride. I ride in zone 4 routinely and often flirt with zone 5.
My strategy this year is going to be a bit more like a diesel motor and just hum along at a lighter pace than in year's past but to also travel lighter than I've done before and move through the night. I have no idea how the sleep apnea is going to impact me. It can't be much worse than in the past but the concern for me now is that I'll be on the CPAP and oxygen for several months and then be forced to race without them.
One thing that I've been kicking around a bit is using aero bars for this year's race. I know that sounds odd on such a gnarly trail but the rationale behind it is that if I come to a detour on pavement, or fire roads at 4 in the morning, I intend on grinding it out. If a different position that puts different pressure on my saddle, triceps, and gives my numb hands a break from the grips means that I can ride even just 2 hours more each day then it's at least worth investigating. I could use them through Bailey and to the top of Kenosha Pass, into and out of Leadville, into and out of Buena Vista, along the fire road towards Fooses Creek, from highway 114 until I start the high altitude sections, and maybe along highway 550. A lot of mountain bikers aren't comfortable with aero bars but I got my start by racing duathlons so I am quite comfortable in that position.
My friend Marshal loaned me the clip ons he used for Tour Divide last year and I started playing with them last night. Some guys use a pretty radical stem to get the bars high enough but the saddle to bar drop on my bike isn't very much to begin with. The pads were a tad low so I swapped out the hardware that he had been using for longer bolts and 1/2" nylon spacers to bring them up. I've only ridden up and down the street but they are super comfortable.
Here you can see the new spacers. Don't worry Marshal...I took measurements before I made adjustments.
They do add a bit of weight but not that much and I am dropping more weight off my total from last year (see....I didn't have to use that one word). Right now I don't think they're going to get in my way on tighter trails but we'll see. The other added benefit of these is that they give me a very organized way of adding my heart rate monitor and a light because you know I like things to look a certain way from the seat. Running a light off to one side would make me cringe. I already know how I'm going to do it if this works out.
Why? I don't know too many gals that want to get with this:
The first night was awkward for sure. The mask rubs the area under my nose totally raw. Maybe I'll develop a callus there. That'll be a good look. The good news is that Thursday morning is the first time in the well over 5 years that I have felt good when I woke up. This equipment requires cleaning every morning or else you can get sinus infections from bacteria. By the time Heather got out of the shower, I had everything clean, a shirt ironed and a cup of juice. I'm a big kid now.
Unfortunately, yesterday morning I was back to my usual self. The second I opened my eyes I knew something was wrong. The oxygen machine has 2 warning lights that require you to call the company right away. One of them was on and I wasn't getting oxygen so I'm sure that's why I felt poorly. They came up yesterday and switched it out to a new machine. This morning I feel about like I did after that first night. I will probably be more awake today but, by this evening at dinner, I'll be tired again. It should get better each day.
I just feel bad for Heather. I was going to make an insulated box for the O2 machine but after talking to the company, the best I can do is put it in the other room and run 25' of tubing to my bed.