Thursday, June 30, 2011

Rolla Hade...

was my Father in-law. He was a cowboy and spent much of his younger days traveling the rodeo scene as a talented roper. I always thought being on a farm and having all kinds of animals would be a neat way to live life even though I'm sure it takes more hard work than I am aware of but I liked the idea of driving a pickup through the property or putting in a hard days work and then watching the sun go down while sitting back on the porch. In 2008 he was battling colon cancer. He managed to rope that steer too and was soon given a clean slate. After all that, he dropped about 80 pounds and had a new lease on life. Most of the time when Heather and I called him he would be out doing stuff again. Swimming, going back to rodeos, or spending the night out with the boys shooting pool, smoking cigars and maybe even having a cold brew. He even talked about coming back out here to visit us again to see if he could tolerate the altitude now that he was feeling so much better (he wasn't able to stay for our wedding because of altitude related issues).

For the last month or so, Rolla started feeling poorly again. He complained of stomach aches and pains and loss of appetite. He had a test earlier this week that showed an area of concern on his liver and another on a lung. He was scheduled for some further testing tomorrow to see if the cancer had come back again. We suspected it had. We spoke to him last night and he sounded genuinely worried.

Rolla passed away in his sleep last night.

I remember talking with him shortly after marrying his lovely daughter. I asked him if I could call him "dad". Those that know me understand that I haven't used that word in a long time but I've wanted to for quite a while. I was so thrilled when I would call him and say, "Hey Dad".

This puts something as trivial as annoying brakes into perspective rather quickly. I'm so glad he didn't suffer.

I will miss you more than you know. May you rest in peace...Dad.

Night Rider

No not the show, although, that show was pretty sweet. I would soooo rock the Hoff's hair. My wife says she likes me with a shaved head but....what else are you gonna say to the person that you're stuck with for life who has no seeds sprouting? For a while we talked about a deal that would put us back in St. Louis and put me at the Hair Club for Men but I think we both know that I simply couldn't handle the heat. Not the heat from all the play I'd be gettin' from the ladies with my luscious locks (Oh I'll handle that like a trucker handles his rig on an icy mountain pass). I'm talking about the heat that can only be experienced in the midwest

Oh bullocks...I've veered substantially off course. Back to night ridin'. Last night I waited until about 9 before heading out for about 1.5 hours on the mean trails of Woodland Park. Past the Sonic where all the high school kids were kickin' it. I slowly climbed all the way up to a power line cut up above town and was greeted with a pretty neat view of the surrounding area's lights before dropping back down on a different trail. I'm hoping to do more night riding this year and, as the race gets closer, I'll start putting in more time in the dark. Nothing crazy to report from the ride other than the fact that my front BB7 continues to squeal loudly. What is it with this thing? I actually took it in to my local shop three times now and paid someone that works on bikes all day long to fiddle with it and he can't quiet it down. I know some (TK) will say that I am a bit of a perfectionist with things but this sound creates decibels so high that leaves on nearby tree's quiver. I'm at a loss.

In other news...the roofers are nailing down the new shingles as I type. They seem like good guys so I decided to get them a 12 pack and had it iced down for them when they arrived this morning. I wanted to show them that we appreciate their hard work on our home. After much debating though, I opted for 3.2% ABV because, like I said, I want them to feel appreciated but...I don't want them to fall off the roof and have this turn in to a Jerky Boys skit.

I wonder when Honey Stinger is going to get those bibs in that I keep hearing are, "Expected any day now."

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day 3

Today I finished up Section 14 of the CT and then hit highway 50 back into Salida. There is A LOT of hiking in this section but there are a few spots where the trail is pavement smooth as it winds it's way through the Aspens.

This is just as the trail starts to drop down to the Mount Shavano trailhead.

I had about 18 hours of moving time over the 3 days and covered just under 140 miles. I consumed 27.3 gallons of water (not including the liquids I purchased along the way).

Day 2

On Saturday I put in an hour and a half before making my way back to Buena Vista and the best cup of coffee in the world (Bongo Billy's). Then I started the 9 mile climb up Cottonwood Pass to jump on to the Colorado Trail. The trail was in good shape but it sure was dusty.

The rivers and creeks were all blown out as that snow up high looks to be melting pretty quickly. Fast moving water means no shortage for me to drink. And drink I did. I have never put down as much water as I was doing on Saturday. I was taking in more than a full bottle every hour.

This poor guy (I know it was a guy b/c someone had hacked off the antlers) was NOT drinking enough water. I made it to the Mount Princeton Hot Springs and then ate a big lunch and pounded juices, and soda's. It was heaven. What was not heaven was seeing that guy in the Speedo. You don't see that much. Then I saw a guy ride up with full bikepacking bags. I called him over and introduced myself. Turns out he was a follower of the TD and was hoping to do the CTR this August. Kenny didn't stay long and took off up the road. I had to get more juices but within half an hour, I loaded up and headed out. I caught him right at the top of the nasty hiking section after jumping back on the trail (it really adds insult to injury). We rode together for a few hours and then I was forced to stick with my plan.

I rode a little over 8 hours on Saturday and it felt great.

This is a fire road just before the Hot Springs.

Day 1 of a long weekend

I had a pretty big weekend to get through in terms of training. Once again, I loaded up and headed over to Chaffee County for three days of riding. On the way over, I saw a Tour Divide racer on highway 24 just out of Hartsel and decided to stop and wait for him to get there so I could give him an applause. It turned out to be Jeff Tomasetti. We chatted for a bit as he inhaled ice cream and then I wished him well and got back in the car. My plan was to park at Absolute Bikes in Salida and do a big loop over the next 3 days. Friday night I rode the TD route northbound. I did not realize how much the road kicked up right as it left Salida though. It doesn't look like much but it climbed for a solid 2.5 hours and man was it hot. It was also incredibly dry back there.

Shortly after taking this picture, I would see someone on the side of the road after cresting a small climb. I figured it would be Jeff but the jersey was a different color. As I got closer, we both were smiling and waving. I can't recall his name right now but he was from Belgium and was also a TD racer. As we chatted, Jeff popped over the hill and we all had a good laugh before riding off in opposite directions. It was pretty inspiring seeing those guys. They were both lubed up with Carmex, Burt's products, Chapstick, Coppertone and layer upon layer of dirt. They both had some pretty serious sores on their mouths and ears from the sun. To say that they looked "bad" would be rude considering the miles they had covered up to that point and the fact that these riders are just exposed to the sun ALL DAY LONG and no amount of anything will keep things from cracking. It was really neat to get to talk to both of them and hear some of their stories.

This was about 3 hours in to the ride when I ran out of water. I was supposed to ride for 3-4 hours this evening and then bivy up somewhere but the route was a lot longer than I anticipated. I ended up making it back to the highway after 6 hours and 3 of them spent licking my lips and trying not to think about soda, water, Gatorade, iced mocha this and that. There were some houses along the way and I could have stopped and pleaded my case but I wanted to see what would happen if I climbed into the hurt cave. At hour 5 I got a little emotional. Although it's just a theory, I believe that dehydration is the biggest reason for my quitting in 2009 and even if my hub hadn't had issues in 2008, I would not have made it through the remote areas and may have gotten into serious trouble.

I snapped this picture about 8 miles away from the highway. I pressed on and finally made it to the gas station and stocked up before riding another 10 with a headlamp to find a bivy spot near the Arkansas River.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

This is like 11,7XX'. For those that don't know, racers in the Quizno's Pro Race will be coming up from the Taylor Park side of things. The valley on that side of the Divide is one of my favorite places in Colorado. A dirt road climbs up from there and it becomes paved right at the top. Can't wait for that race.

Not sure what was going on in this picture but I think I was just having so much fun. Lot's of snow up there.

That's the summit of Turner Mountain where I had my lunch.

Incredible Ride

Today's ride called for a really long, mostly Zone 2 climb to altitude. I was also supposed to get in some hiking to even higher ground if I could. I had planned on going over to Buena Vista to do this workout. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to it all because of the snow in the high country. My plan on the way over was to ride from town, the 20 miles to the summit of Cottonwood Pass and then descend mostly down to Taylor Park on the other side and then come back up. The further I climbed, the more it looked like I might actually be able to get a hike in. I averaged just under 7 mph on the way up Cottonwood which seemed good for keeping the effort to one where I could have held a conversation the whole way. The ride up was pretty uneventful and once I made the top, I set of on foot and pushed my bike an extra 1100' up to the summit of Turner Mountain. I had lunch up there and took in the views for a while before coming back down.

When will I learn? These pics are all outa whack. These are all from the ride up Cottonwood. As soon as I sat down for lunch at 13,2XX, the batts for my GPS and camera took a dump.

This is the CT where it crosses Cottonwood Pass. We actually don't get to ride the part I'm standing on as we come up the road from BV and then hang a left on the trail but I had to pee so I did it here.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fed up

With my bike. It needs a bit of TLC but it's too early to rebuild it all right now. I'm trying to make due for a bit longer but I'm at the end of my rope with rubbing brakes and sloppy shifting. The brakes were beyond repair without swapping in new pads so I stopped in to Team Telecycle this morning to get pads and then just had Paul install them for me since I was tired of doing brake adjustments with unevenly worn pads. I installed new rear derailleur cable and housing when I got back home and things are a lot better and I probably won't yell at my bike tomorrow. I've got some big weeks coming up and it's frustrating enough on an hour long ride when stuff is fighting you and enough to drive you insane on something as long as 8 hours. I'm riding my mountain bike infinitely more than I have in year's and the wear and tear is showing.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Potential theory

A comment about my trip to the dentist yesterday now has me pondering things. Most know that I've had my share of hacks posing as dentists rummaging around in my mouth and that doesn't exactly ease me when I'm sitting in "the chair". Since you asked, when I am in the chair, every muscle in my body is flexed like Lou Ferrigno in a final pose down. I digress. Having multiple dental mishaps in my life (such as the time when I almost lost my tongue when "Dr. Shaky" made an ooops) certainly hasn't helped in the trust area.

One thing's for sure...the sound of the instruments scraping against my teeth doesn't help my issues. Now...that's really only during the cleaning process so it doesn't explain the fear entirely. The one common denominator that the dentist, cleaning person (is that the hygienist), the dental assistant, etc. all share is that they put their skinners in my mouth. Sure they wear gloves but that's beside the point. I can't see what's going on. Even if I could...they have their fingers in my mouth!! It's a bit invasive really. Personally...I wouldn't want my fingers near anyone's mouth but that's probably why I chose to not go to dental school. Instead...I chose to work in special education where hygiene can sometimes be an issue and I find myself wiping down everything in my room (especially doorknobs) several times each month while competing (financially speaking) with a stocker at Safeway. And yes....I know that most will argue the fact that educator's get the summer's off and, while that is true, you should know that I have been to school for work related things (not cleaning my room or preparing for next year) such as interviewing people or reviewing applicant packets, answering calls on my personal cell from either parents or administrator's, or attending training's that come along with the responsibility of being both team leader as well as the BOCES leader at least 3 times each week since being on "vacation". And no...I am not being compensated for my time. I digress...again.

There it is. I can't see (nor do I have much control over) what is being done in my mouth. A few year's back I had another procedure (and need to have it done again very soon here and am super stoked about it) that involved the putting of hands in a spot where I can't see and had no control over what was being done. That's right. I'm putting the doctor that slips a finger up my pooper in the same boat as a dentist who has their fingers all up in my grill. I think I have solved the mystery. I like to be in control.

I wonder if it would make any difference if I performed these procedures on my own. I know that's not possible. Just speculating.

Thanks for checking in.

A BIG move

So with 4.5 days of racing under his belt and almost 1100 miles in his legs, Kurt Refsnider put a huge bid in last night by riding through the night to shake Ethan Passant, catch, pass, and put big time into Jefe Branham, and almost real in the ITT racer that started before everyone. Wow.

Check it out at

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

More fun at the dentist

Today I had to go back in to my dentist for a routine cleaning. Ever since I was a child, I have had a true fear of dentists. I love my current dentist (Dr. Stephanie Kaufman) and all of her staff including the ladies that bill me. They are all so gentle with me. My cleaning went smoothly but, as I sat there in the chair, I could hear the woman that performed the cleaning talking with the doctor. I heard her mention #14. Soft tissue. That's dentist talk. I immediately panicked and began to think about running but I decided to wait. Due to the concern, that area was going to get a closer inspection. Turns out it was part of a baby tooth that was lodged between an adult tooth and the gum. I have felt that thing for eons now. I always thought it was a hunk of food or something. One time I even took a dull knife and tried to dislodge whatever it was but was unable to. Other times I've just flossed that area until it bled. I gave up 10 years ago and just assumed it was an abnormality of the tooth.

So tonight, at 38 years of age, I will be expecting something from the tooth fairy.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Ruh Roh.

Some how, the return spring between the pads got twisted up like a little wiener package. The symphonic metal grinding was the rotor as it was eating up this arm of the spring. I don't know how this could have happened but I'm hoping it's just some freak thing and nothing symbolic of what's to come in my life.

This pad took a little beating during the ordeal but I think I can still use it a bit longer before I rebuild the bike.

This is completely out of order.

Colorado Springs is down there.

Some of the gnarlier singletrack.

Home sweet home.

Another overnighter

This overnighter brings the week's training to 22 hours. I was going to head over to Salida and do a route that Tom Purvis set me up with but decided to stay around here at the last minute. I left at about lunch time on Saturday and rode out of town and then hooked up with the Ring the Peak Trail as it passes North Catamount Reservoir right at the base of Pikes Peak. The weather was calling for some showers but I was hoping to dodge them. I rode the loop counter clockwise. A week or so ago, I rode this same portion of the trail all the way to some rock formations called the Crags. I was supposed to stay in Zone 2 mostly for Saturday and I adhered to this pretty strictly. I made it to the Crags with a lower average heart rate and 5 minutes faster so I was pretty happy.

I kept going to Horsethief (another trailhead). At one point I had to cross a creek and about 20 yards from it I was trying to figure out what the heck was in the water. Then I figured it out. There was a sixxer of PBR, another of Coke and another of Old Chub. Trail magic?? Then I saw a guy sitting there with his dog. He was waiting for 12 runners but was kind enough to offer me a beverage. I was feeling so good that I declined and kept going. I hit the highway and noticed a big storm brewing just to the west. Luckily, I outran it and made it to Gold Camp Road. Several miles after being on GC, the route heads up 379. I have never been able to clean this entire climb. I can't figure out why. It's a fire road (nothing special) but it just seems to keep going and gets me every time. This time I made it all the way up and the highest my heart got on a few sections was 162. I was jazzed.

Next up is a nasty little Jeep trail that requires hiking. After that, you kinda start heading down for a ways. I was supposed to find a bivy spot 6 hours in but I rode for 6.5 looking for the perfect spot. I found it next to a creek and on a nice flat spot. I stuffed my face, hung the food, I even stretched, and then climbed in the bivy and got ready for the light show.

The temps got down to 38 and I was fargin cold. I got moving again at 7 this morning. After an hour, I had an issue with my rear brake. It was making some horrible metal on metal noises. I wondered if I was out of pad. More on the real deal (and pics) later. Unfortunately, I had to take the pads completely out of the caliper and remount it to stop the rubbing. Now I only had a front brake. I gingerly made way down and ended up having to walk a lot of downhills. By the time I got to Manitou Springs, I was frustrated from 3 crashes. I got a Coke, and figured I might as well make the long slog up the Ute Pass Trail since pushing my bike didn't require any back brakes. I made my way down to highway 24 and rode that up to Cascade and then decided to just call it a day. I had 80 miles in the 24 hours I was out.

I drank a ton of water (at least a bottle every hour). My nutrition is working out wonderfully. I like the food I'm using, it seems to be working, and I can get it at any gas station. Somewhere in the last few days (might be from reading Cordillera V1 or V2) I read that part of the ultra riding challenge is training your body to eat like a 5 year old and get mileage out of it. I feel like I'm well on my way.

Ring the Peak singletrack.


This is actually from a ride I took a few days. It's pretty much just sitting on the side of the road.

Pikes Peak.

Usually you can see the Divide from here but with all of the wildfires out west, you can't.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The finer details

I'm still playing around with some hand issues. My left hand tends to go numb pretty quickly these days. I've used Ergon products before but never been completely thrilled. This year I went back to them and am using the model without barends. About a week ago, I made a very slight adjustment to the left grip and felt an instant difference. I still have to shake things out frequently but it made a huge difference. These are not grips you can simply throw on and forget about. Now mine are marked to the bar so that once I do the final build I can get them right back to the magical spot.

Another big breakthrough I had this week was with my Reba fork. I have never liked how this fork felt. In fact, in the beginning, I used to leave it locked while riding trails. I did ton's of research on it and changed air pressures (positive and negative) but never was able to get it dialed in. When you throw on all the gear needed for bikepacking it changes everything again. I always bottom out the travel and there's been times I've done a nose stand when coming down off something big enough and that's no good since I ride extremely cautiously when I'm bikepacking. I don't know if maybe I'm not really a suspension kinda guy anymore or what but I put damn near 140psi in the positive chamber the other day and the same for the negative and thought it felt better. For yesterday's ride, I put in another 5psi and road it again and it felt awesome (much more stable in the technical stuff for me).

Tour Divide officially starts tomorrow and I can't friggin' wait to watch the blue dots move along. There is one racer (Rob Culliver) that left yesterday morning at 0800. You can follow the race over at

The features over there just get better and better. Scott and Dave have added some things that are going to make it more fun for us at home. Once you go to the leaderboard this year, you'll see some tabs on the right side of the map and if you play around with them you can overlay radar maps onto the leaderboard and see what Mother Nature is throwing at the racers. You can also overlay a snowpack map on top of the racers and get an idea if they're postholing through any snowfields or not.

Good luck to all of you and be safe.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Little bit of hurt

I wanted everyone to know that Dave Harris expected me to get high on todays ride. The plan called for some high altitude exposure and some hike a bike. I actually went an extra hour (6 total) because I'm an over-achiever. Actually I just spaced on the time so really I'm just stupid. I ended up making it to 12,500' before heading down. At the 5 hour mark, I hit the wall pretty hard. When I looked at my calories burned, I was right at 4,000. This is exactly the kind of situation I wanted to put myself in more this year. I stopped for a few minutes and drank half a bottle of water and threw down 350 calories and then started soft pedaling again. In 20 minutes I was back in business. I had eaten good today (hourly) and I went through a bottle every hour but I am definitely not eating good meals with Heather out of town. She is fantastic. I tell her what I need based on the upcoming workouts and she burns it right up. I definitely could not do this as a bachelor.'re a rock star. I met some guys shortly after I got on Ring the Peak and they asked if I knew you.

I'm off to eat and then nap for a few hours. Week 5 starts tomorrow and it is truly an ass kicker.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Little (but extremely important) project

Today after I cleaned the house and did all my chores, I decided to start in on a little project that I have been putting off. A few weeks ago I was riding along the river in the Deckers area and found a gravel guard laying on the side of the road. For those don't know, this is wrapped around your ankles and over your boots and waders to keep gravel out of the boot and creating holes. It's basically a gaiter for fly fishing. I already have a matching set. What to do with one lone gravel guard?

After some very precise measuring and cutting, I ended up with a square section of the gravel guard. Then I busted out my needle and thread and got to work laying down stitches that would make Susan B. Anthony blush.

I ended up with just about the coolest damn koozie I've ever seen. Aside from one I scored years ago from Bob Franklin down in darkest depths of Lesterville, Missouri and on the banks of the Black River.

It's quite accepted that when meeting up with other fly fisherman, you bring some kind of adult refreshments to enjoy (sometimes even throughout the day depending on the epicness of the day). Nobody is going to have a thing on me when I break this little bad boy out. Truth be told...I don't even know that I'll be able to fish with anyone any longer. Clearly, this puts me in an entirely different league of play. The DOW may have to shut down the river when I call ahead and let em know that I plan on punchin' in on any given day and to get all the hacks off the water.


Most that know me, know that for whatever reason, I have some very vivid dreams. For years it's been this way. Now that I am using the machines to sleep, I find that I don't wake up laughing anymore about my dreams that were often straight out of The Wall but only included people I know. Last night I dreamed about the Colorado Trail Race. There wasn't much substance about it and I can't recall many details. I do know that in my dream, I cracked 5 days for my time.

I dropped my bike, gear, took off my clothes (they actually walked off into the sunset on their own power) and strolled into a rather plush hotel...naked. Soon I was being fanned with massive palm leaves (I've never seen palm trees in Durango's my dream!!). Apparently, the hotel had rented a sub-compact for Heather and she drove down. The rest is private but I will say that there was a large tub of Nutella involved and, oddly enough, a new toilet plunger.

With that take care now.
Heather went back home for a visit. I dropped her off at the airport yesterday morning. She called me last night. For weeks now, she's been complaining about how cold she is here in Colorado. I think the first thing she said last night was that it was supposed to be 95 degrees there today and about a brazillion percent humidity. I would describe her tone as being not exactly enthusiastic. I had to chuckle a bit. She was kind enough to leave me some grocery money. I did wonder how many pizzas and 6 packs I could buy with a hundred bucks but, in the end I did the mature thing. She is the one that usually does the grocery shopping for the house though and that was quite obvious when I got to the checkout and realized I had forgotten the money in the car. So I got out of line (which is a feat in it's own right really) and asked if I could leave the cart at customer service while I ran out real quickly. To be honest, I detected a bit of the stink eye. Once out at the car, I realized that if I had gone over a hundred bucks I was in serious trouble as I had forgotten my wallet. This would make me look like an even bigger jackass and...we can't have that. I was pretty sure I'd need it so I got in and drove back to the house to get it but not before fumbling my Blackberry and then, in an effort to make a catch that would dominate any highlight real, I actually sent it further into orbit as well as out of reach entirely. I did reach and lean over the car door though just like a MLB catcher would do trying to chase down a foul ball. It didn't end pretty. So I was now kinda cranky about the whole thing but in the end I made it home with my groceries that consisted of quite a bit of fruits and veggies. Just so you know.

For the most part, I have the day off riding today. I have to do some Pilates (really don't like that stuff as it tends to hand my ass to me on a silver platter). Then I get to do what is now my second least favorite activity...stretching. After that's done I think I'm going to clean up my new toy that I pulled the trigger on 2 nights ago. Once it's presentable (it really is now's a process I go through) I shall take some photos and put it on display.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

My little buddy

Heather and I stopped by the Vet's office to check on my buddy yesterday. Here he is in all of his glory. He is actually a Long Eared Owl and he is an adult. He is also extremely feisty. No shortage of sass in this guy. He wasn't real happy to see people and that's why his right wing is out. His left one is all bandaged up. The good news is that he appears to be doing well. He's eating very well (3 and 4 mice a day). The bandage will come off in about 2 weeks and then they'll x-ray the wing again to see if it's healed up correctly. The bad news is that one of the bones that was broken is very small. If that doesn't heal up properly, then he likely will not be able to fly again. So...if that's the case then there's 2 options. One would be take him to an educational place where people could see him and he'd be cared for. The issue with that is that he is very cranky. He tries to bite and scratch any chance he gets and so it would be tough to find a place that would take him on. The other option would be to euthanize him. So I'm hoping that the bone heals up and he can be released into the wild. At the risk of sounding selfish, I really want to see him set free again and it doesn't hurt that I get to go along and release him. I continue to be astounded by the beauty of this animal. The Blackberry picture does not do him any sort of justice.

I have named him Hooter.