Tuesday, May 31, 2011


is so choice. Today's ride was just a really nice spin with a fully loaded bike and a focus on being smooth in the technical stuff. I only took one picture today because I was having too much fun. Alpha Blondy's Apartheid is Nazism is one of the best albums I've ridden to. I had both earbuds in and, when the trail was wide enough, I was weaving from berm to berm like a kid. This is a pretty easy week for training. That all ends with a nasty session on Sunday. It's a ride that I was having a real hard time putting together with all the snow we have up high but, like most things, I was making the logistics harder than they needed to be. In the end I found the perfect ride for the training plan and.....it was right out the front door the whole time.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


This weekend's training called for a brief overnighter. Originally I was going to ride in Leadville but the trails are still buried under snow up there so I went back to Buena Vista. Year's ago when I first started coming to Colorado, BV is where I spent my non-teaching summers and it's where I wanted to live. I was actually offered a teaching job in their high school before moving out here but I simply could not afford to work for that little pay.

I rode up to a ghost town just north of BV. The cabins there were actually used during the mining days of long ago and they are kept preserved. Everybody and their rowdy brother was in the mountains to play this weekend (nothing says the great outdoors like Lynard Skynard being blasted out of 6x9's) so I knew finding solitude would be difficult. I did get a bit of rain off and on but nothing major. Last night I was scrambling to look for a place to camp and finally settled on an isolated spot right at 9. I was up and moving by 7 this morning and got in another 4 hours. I saw lot's of cool things.

I also learned quite a bit from this ride. Changes that I made over last year's setup (that I thought would be way better) proved not so much. I ate/drank more than I ever have before and I ate good stuff too so that will likely remain (although I did bring too much food). I also had a lot of time for reflection (particularly today). The kind of riding I did for this trip was different than you find on the CTR. There was no singletrack at all and it was probably more along the lines of the Tour Divide. With the CT, you have to pay so much attention to the trail that you don't do an awful lot of looking around unless you're stopped. On the fire roads, I was able to rubber neck everywhere. I really had a good time. That doesn't mean that I'm not excited about this year's race but it does mean that I think I'm ready for something else. I just need to get the monkey off my back this year for my mind to really go along with that plan because, up to now, considering starting something else before I finish this has not been an option.

Hope you're all well.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Owl update

Well the owl I found the other day actually did have a broken tibia and fibula. That I suspected. What I didn't expect is the second injury. It appears that some A-hole shot the owl.

He got his wing taken care of today and he is eating well. I'm gonna go see him in the morning. I'd sure love to know who shot him.

Tour Divide

It's just about 2 weeks away now. There should be about 75 racers starting in Banff and 15ish starting from the Mexican border. The big concern this year is with regard to snow in the north.

This picture was taken about a week or so ago up in Rocky Mountain National Park. This is not on the TD route but snow pack is about the same in the Canadian sections and into Colorado as far south as Boreas Pass (which is Breckenridge). Banff got more snow this morning. Some racers are actually talking about bringing along snowshoes and I think they're serious. Many sections are being re-routed due to the snow and some people are even changing their travel plans to now due a northbound race in hopes that conditions improve with the extra time.

This picture shows more images of the snow pack (10 days ago) from the Flathead Wilderness section of the route in the far north. Flathead is special place by itself. I believe it contains the largest population of carnivores in North America. No shortage of Grizzlies, mountain lion's, wolves, Black Bear, Lynx, etc. The snow looks to be a deal breaker this year I think.


This book is about ultra-racing along the Tour Divide route. Probably the best thing about this book is that 100% of the proceeds go to a college fund that was setup for a 4 year old girl named Linnaea Blumenthal. Her father Dave was the victim of a fatal crash in last year's TDR that happened just north of the Steamboat Spring's area. Whether you're researching things to make an attempt at this route or you just wanna live vicariously through others that have done the route, this is the book for it.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tonights workout was just under 3 hours of moving time with over an hour of Zone 4 intervals. I am cooked. This finished up the first 3 week block of training. I'm too tired to type.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Today I found myself being both jaded and bitter at work due to some issues that don't deserve any further duress as I am washing my hands of them. It rained, hailed, and snowed all day long. I was supposed to do interval work tonight and I knew that I would have no problem hitting the numbers with some extra aggression sprinkled in. I actually had a break right at 3 so I busted home, got changed and hit the road. I rode down the pass a bit and then hit my turn around point and started coming back up. My intention was to actually do my intervals on a steep little climb that leads up to Rampart Range Road (just above town). But...I hit Zone 5 pretty quickly on the way back up and decided to let some anger out. Then I decided to just do repeats there. It wasn't the safest setup with wet roads and people coming home from work yakin away on their cellulars and fumblin around trying to light a smoke or read a text but. Intervals 2 and 3 were in nasty rain and the temps were dropping quickly. #4 was the moistest snow I think I've seen. I maintained right at 178 (even saw 180 at times) for all the interval work.

Thanks irritations at work!!

And, of course, the skies are clearing now. Eat a dog turd Mother Nature.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Playing with gear

I was playing around in the garage tonight and then noticed there were four bucks in the front yard. They ate every single one of the Dandelions in the lawn. They also ate some of the new leaves off the Aspen tree.

This weekend's training consists of a simple overnighter so I was running through some gear tonight. Last year I created a spreadsheet for every little thing that was with me. It's at work but I know I'm lighter this year. It's amazing how each time I head out for a big ride I seem to be able to do it on less and less stuff. The bike is still gonna weigh right at 24.5lbs. and I'm fine with that because I absolutely trust it. This year I intend to go without my front roll bag from Carousel Designs. Instead I'm using a simpler roll top bag from Sea to Summit (the gray bag on the right). The bag and it's contents (I won't go into that yet) weighs 2.7lbs. I'm quite comfortable with whatever Mother Nature decides to throw at me with what's in that bag though. I will use my seat bag from Carousel Designs. The sleep system for this year will be one of two options. I'm not going to go into what each option consists of but both will have my closed cell foam pad that weighs one whole ounce. I will also bring either my 45 degree down bag from North Face or go with something else. I still need to do a lot of testing (haven't done any yet with the really ultralight setup) and see if it's gonna fly with the strategy that I intend to use for this year (right now). The heavier system of the 2 weighs 3.9 lbs including the Carousel Designs seat bag and my SPOT unit. The lighter system weighs 3 lbs even with the seat bag and SPOT.

I think I'll be able to have about 5 hours of food in my Revelate (formerly Epic Designs before Specialized but the kaibash on things) gas tank bag and jersey pockets before I need to stop and reload. I'm running the same backpack and in that will be my tools/pump/tube, my trusty MSR water filter (I won't use anything else), minimal personal care stuff, my rain jacket, some food, and my water. I have plenty of room to load up on food in my pack, seat bag and front bag if need be. I'm still trying to figure out where I'm heading this weekend. It's gonna have to be someplace remote because with the holiday weekend, everyone will be out playing. I have a general idear where I'll go but Dharma recently got mad at me and chewed up my Gazeteer so I need to do a bit more research. I can't wait for this week to be done and school to be out so I can focus more on training and having fun.
Today I talked to the vet that took in the owl I found. She said he is much better. He is standing on his feet and he had eaten a few mice already. She was going to evaluate him today and see what the injuries looked like. I'll know more tomorrow and I might be able to go visit him.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I woke up in the middle of the night with a super bad runny nose. Normally, this would not be a huge deal but, given that I wear that fighter pilot mask it was...interesting. I also had a nasty headache. This morning I felt queasy and was debating about whether or not I should even go on a ride. I decided to try to ride since it was at least sunny and about 50 degrees and we're supposed to get more rain and snow this week. I was supposed to ride for 3 hours and right about the 2.5 hour mark, I saw some black crows (birds...not band members) and they were picking at something in a field off the road. I stopped to watch for a second and then realized that whatever it was they were pickin' on was trying to fight back. So I hopped the barbed wire fence and ran out into the field. The crows took off and the thing was hidden by a big rock. Once I got around the rock I saw this:

He wasn't in as good a shape as the one pictured. I didn't have my camera either. He was sitting up and it looked like his left wing was broken. When I stepped closer he ran a few feet away. When they're pissed off they click their beak. Eventually, he let me sit next to him while I tried to figure what I was going to do. I can't stand to see suffering and I sure didn't wanna leave him to be picked at by those stupid crows. Finally, I decided to take my long sleeve jersey and wrap him up in it. Then I road back into town one handed and headed straight to the vet where we take Bodhi and Dharma. I tried to be as careful as I could but, once we got to the vet, he wasn't looking good. I'm hoping he's just in shock and pulls out of it. I know he's in good hands over at the Woodland Animal Clinic. I'm going to take Heather over on Monday morning and see how he is.

It's hard to describe how beautiful it was and how yellow the eyes were. Super cool to see and be a part of.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I know that complaining about weather and actually choosing to live at 8500' don't really go hand in hand but I am ready for some decent weather above 60 degrees. That's not asking much. It's not like I'm asking for it to be 95 degrees because we all know that would never happen. Tuesday night was a hard night for me and I had to get all bundled up for it. Wednesday night I got caught in rain and more cold temps. Today I sat in on interviews all day long for a position at work and then right as I was leaving the building it started snowing. It was ugly. No shortage of lightning and thunder. I was supposed to do 20 minute intervals. I waited a bit and the clouds got darker and darker. I was going to load up and head towards Decker's to ride but falling from the slick conditions and hurting myself would be a real disappointment. So, reluctantly, I went down to the laboratory and punched in. 60 minutes of intervals are NOT fun on a trainer. And, of course, I came upstairs to look out the window and see about 3" of snow and a brief reprieve from the storm but it now looks like more is rolling in over the peaks to the west.

The bright side of all this is how much more magnificent a 14,000' peak looks when it's blanketed in fresh powder against a blue sky and it's lit up by the sun. As I type, it's slowly being engulfed by thick clouds that look to be a tad upset.

Even though some of my workouts are getting a bit buggered up by weather, I'm way ahead of where I've been in May's past.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Week one is in the books

Today was another craptastic weather day. Temps were in the low 40's and I had rain, and some snow to deal with. I needed to get out for about 4 hours today so I headed over to ride Section 2 of the Colorado Trail until my time was complete. I saw lot's of cool stuff today too. I've learned a lot this week in terms of training and I'm looking forward to the rest of the plan. I'm also looking forward to some warmer weather. I'm so tired of riding in the cold. Enjoy the pics from today's ride and thanks for checking in.

Colorado Trail Section 2 from Chris Neumann on Vimeo.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

That's more like it.

Today I needed to do a 3 hour road ride. I headed down to Colorado Springs to try and get into a bit warmer weather and it ended up being colder down there (40 degrees). I needed to get onto the Air Force Academy for part of my ride and they were not messing around at the North Gate. I got in but I also got a decent lecture before I told them I was just going to check out the Visitor's Center. Then I was informed that I could only ride there and then back. The VC was about halfway through my loop on the Academy and I figured that riding to the VC and then just continuing on around my loop would really be same thing. However, the woman dressed in full BDU's with the full-on assault rifle (and nicely manicured nails) that stopped me shortly after passing the VC was in complete disagreement. I didn't even question it. My game isn't that good. I'm sure the heightened security with recent political developments is the reason for the seriousness. I headed back out the North Gate and then had to figure out how to put together another hour on roads I've never ridden on before. I managed. In the end my average heart rate was 149. It's snowing/raining now so we'll see how that impacts tomorrow's ride that is supposed to be 4 hours on the dirt.

Friday, May 13, 2011

It's only week 1 of training but I was feeling really worked over this week. I lied in a previous post so allow me to come clean here. On Tuesday, I went out to do my workout which consisted of a 20 minute time trial. In the weeks leading up to this plan, I scouted out a lot of locations for workouts just to make sure they would work and to get me away from my local ride up and down the boring Pass here in town. I even did a 20 minute TT because I was curious to see what the numbers looked like and what my training zones would be. When I did the first TT, my average HR was 179 (I spent quite a bit of time in the 183 neighborhood). On Tuesday, within the first 3 minutes, I was not able to get over 172 (try as I did) and the perceived exertion was quite painful. Frustrated...I bagged it all together and decided to use the numbers from the first TT. Then I did a trainer ride on Wednesday that was supposed to be mostly a Zone 3 ride. I went by the numbers and, again, it was very difficult. It's always tough to do a long ride on the trainer but I rode it most of the winter and this was different. Then yesterday I was supposed to do some Zone 5 intervals. By the numbers, I would have been at 184 for the intervals. This was not remotely happening. Now, pissed off, I bagged it and went home knowing that something was wrong.

I spoke with Dave Harris last night about things and we decided to try the TT again today. I had already taken off work today so I got some good sleep, a good breakfast, and hung out with the pups until things warmed up and then went back out to Deckers. I did a 45 minute warm up and started up the canyon. This time my heart rate was pretty consistent in the low 170's. When I turned the monitor on it was reading 156 and it took about a minute to get near 170. There were a few times I saw upper 177 but no higher and I would not have been able to have a conversation with anyone so I was working pretty hard. I kept a pretty close eye on the numbers and, at one point, they dropped to 92. I looked and did a see a telephone line about 100 yards away. I adjusted the strap and it came back to 173 pretty quickly. Maybe the numbers were off last time because of some interference? Maybe I'm just getting into badass shape very quickly? What's interesting is that I actually covered more mileage (4.9 miles total) this time at a much lower heart rate (on an uphill climb at about 8000').

After plugging in the numbers this time, it's no wonder why I'm tired this week. My Zone 3 rides so far have been dead in the middle of Zone 4. I know it's possible for heart rate to fluctuate based upon time of day, caffeine intake, stress, temperature, all kinds of things but I think these are much more appropriate numbers for me. Tomorrow is a 3 hour Zone 3 ride so I'm anxious to see if it feels any better.

Thanks for the help Dave. I was definitely frustrated when we spoke.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Between meetings after work and now, weather, training is slow to get started. Woke up to this mess this morning and it snowed all day long. I was supposed to do a 2 hour mountain bike ride tonight but that's not happening. We probably got a bit over 6" of the super wet/heavy Rocky Mountain Spring snow. Looks I'll be on the trainer tonight and I'm super thrilled about that. It's supposed to snow all night and tomorrow as well. It could prove tough to get out tomorrow too and that's another 2 hour ride with some Zone 5 intervals on my road bike.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tonight's ride had me back in the Decker's area. I knew it was gonna be a rough ride. Work was really crazy and then I got called to a meeting that lasted until 5. I finally got out there and was pedaling by 6. I actually did this workout about 2 weeks ago because I wanted to make sure that I found a location that would work well. This was an important workout because it established the zones that every workout would be based on for the rest of the time. For this training plan I am using a heart rate monitor instead of power. The wind was really blowing and I even had to deal with some rain and temps in the low 50's but...I got it done. I even did some stretching after I got some dinner in me. I never stretch.

The flows on the river looked PERFECT.

Monday, May 9, 2011

11 weeks and 6 days left

Today was the first day on my training plan. It was not fun. I don't do Yoga or Pilates and it showed. On many of the moves I was shakin' like a puppy tryin' to pass a peach pit. Not a pretty sight.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I am supposed to do a really big ride this weekend and I've been having second thoughts about going for several days now. I start my training plan tomorrow and feel a little at odds with it being the first week of that and deviating from it already. I wont be able to follow the plan for a lot of this week because I can't go into it tired and then it's gonna take a chunk out of next week for me to recover. I spoke with Dave Harris (from LW Coaching) yesterday on an unrelated matter that led to training talk and have been thinking about some stuff. My training plan is 12 weeks. Taking nearly 2 weeks out of it is pretty big. Dave enlightened me on some endurance physiological stuff that I wasn't aware of before. It makes sense and I'm not educated enough to second guess a guy who's got the results that he does.
Saw this on my ride today and sat and watched him for 15 minutes. He was a little wobbly on those long legs. He must have just come into this world really recently. Pretty neat stuff.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Today was the first time in several months that I took a nap after work. Things are OUTTA CONTROL at the office. My students are coming unglued with the end of the year looming and I feel like the Little Dutch Boy. As much as students say they don't like school, I've always believed that even the roughest kids truly want to be held accountable and they miss that accountability during the summer and over long breaks. Right now I'm dealing with a lot of the same scenes from Old Yellar where they say terrible things to me strictly because it's easier to push someone away than it is to be pushed away. I know nothing about that by the way....just ask Heather. Even though I've had several class meetings to say that I WILL be here in August, they just don't buy it until school starts again and I understand that. More so than in recent years, I have questioned whether or not I am doing any good at all. I've always been extremely hard on myself but...we're talking about students (people) here. There's not much room to dick around and I've always said that if someone else could come in tomorrow and produce 1% more than me...I'd pack up my stuff and go because they deserve it. I have a few students that are going through a lot right now and, as a result, struggle at school and, even though I can't control what happens outside of school, I gladly own all of it. Sometimes............it hurts.

I have a big weekend planned. Weather is supposed to be nice so I'll try and get in longer road rides. I also have to make sure my mountain bike is ready for the impending death march. Tonight I worked out some kinks in the brakes and installed new derailleur cables. Tomorrow I'll have to clean it and check all the bolts. Then I have to shop for food and figure out exactly what I'm taking with me. Then I'll decide on which bags are coming along. I also have to make sure my SPOT is working or Heather will beat me. Lastly...I gotta figure out how much water to lug along through the desert. Looking forward to that. Marshal is planning on being able to haul as much as 7 liters I think. Ughhhhhhh. That's A LOT. I think, at most, I'm planning on carrying 3. I wonder if I'll have room for 2 can's of beer?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Today was maybe the warmest it's been so far. At one point, I had my long sleeve jersey unzipped. Pretty sweet. I stole these glasses from my friend Tim. I'd do it again too.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Evening ride

It was kinda cold again today. By the time I got out it was kinda late and in the low 40's in the shadows. I did a little loop up to Divide and back on my mountain bike. It looks like it's nice in the picture.

I saw about 30 deer during the ride.

Training officially starts on Monday. This weekend I'll get my food together for a big ride I've got planned that's coming up and also figure out exactly what I'm bringing besides food.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

HOA Rant

I actually like the concept of a Home Owners Association because, when done properly, it keeps things looking good and property values up. Having said that, I am beginning to get more and more disgruntled with mine. I pay $140 a month for things like lawn mowing (which means they let it get knee high and then hire what could be Ray Charles to mow it all down and trim sporadically twice a year), painting of the deck and some other features (which means they slap on layer after layer of oil based paint until, like this year, everything like my front door starts to peel like a drunk who's been passed out in the sun all day), plowing of the driveway (which means that they come out with a skewed tape meaure and only call out the troops when it is EXACTLY 6" which means anywhere from 9-12" in reality), and several other things that I'll spare you the details on. You get the picture.

I bought this house 6 years ago and one of the things I asked about was the horrible retaining walls. Back then I was told that I was "on the list". I'm still waiting but was told that I was scheduled to have them replaced this month. Then last week I attended a meeting where I found out that we have next to nothing in the budget and that I won't be getting my walls repaired. There are 54 units in my neighborhood. I'll save you the trouble. That's $7,560 each month. About 90 thousand bones a year.

I attended a meeting last week and bit my tongue as hard as I could while hearing about the trials and tibulations that we face. I found out that we just paid some idiot to do gutter repairs. This jackass put extra downspouts on my gutters so that now they divert water away from my already invisible walls. A little late for that but great to know that it cost us about 50 grand. Apparently there were issues (go figure) and the HOA refused to pay the remaining $750 dollars (cuz that'll show em) and the guy is trying to put liens on all the units.

The President of the HOA stopped by the other night to talk to me. He said that they talked about my house at a recent meeting. He said there MIGHT be a chance that they could round up about 2 grand to put towards the walls. The estimate was for 9 grand. I asked if they'd give me the money for the stone so I could install it. Of course not. I'm not bonded and we're all about quality control. I'm pretty sure the guy was drunk when he was talking to me. He farted and I didn't get an, "Excuse me" or "My bad...it slipped". Nothing.

Did I mention that my skylight is also leaking? I'm trying very hard to remain professional but I'm about to let some anger out.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


In my opinion, the one thing that has truly kept me from finishing the Colorado Trail is food/liquid intake. For the first time, I really think I have a good grasp on things. I am going to do several tests this year to make sure things are running smoothly. Soon I'm going to do a ride with my friend Marshal that shouldn't take anymore than 24 hours to finish (I hope not). I'm not entirely comfortable with doing this ride right now but, logistically, it worked out well since he wanted to knock it out too. He's going to start about 4 hours ahead of me just because I want to put myself in more unfamiliar territory by starting out in complete darkness and then riding through the night to watch the sun come up. My plan was to consume about 300 calories per hour. I made a list of foods I'm considering and that have worked well in the past. A lot of good food for me ends up being either salty or sweet and I've also found that I have to take in real food as well if I'm to survive and not break down mentally.

I just got back from the store where I walked around crunching the numbers. Everything on my list turned out to be 12, 260 calories. I'm anxious to see how much everything weighs. That's when I'll start to re-evaluate things and make changes.