Sunday, January 29, 2012

Breckenridge snow sculptures part II

Last year it was really warm when we went to the snow sculptures but not today. As we went over Hoosier Pass the temp was 16. It looked warm but the mercury didn't lie. It took FOREVER to find a place to park. Eventually I just parked at City Market and we walked the bike path up the show. My wife is such a good person. She was seriously worried about us getting in trouble and having the car towed. She's cute.

I thought this was the sharpest sculpture of the show. It featured a mother Grizzly and a cub fishing for Salmon. The details were amazing. You have to look closely but the cub had ice for teeth and claws.

This was another one of my favorites. It's a guy ice fishing outside of his shack. The scarf was really cool. That's a seal peaking up through the ice in the front.

This was Mother Grizz.

On the way back home we were treated to a killer sunset from the mirrors.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Heather and I went over to Breckenridge to check out the ice sculptures today. Cadillac had a booth near the sculptures. They only brought one car but they only needed to bring one car. This is the 2011 CTS-V Black Diamond Edition. It looked like the car was driven from the dealer because it was dirty which was a bummer. Even still, the paint is incredible look at. They use aluminum flakes in the paint and it really is stunning. It also comes with these 19" wheels with Brembo brakes hiding behind them. I couldn't get too many good pictures because of all the people looking at it. One guy was busy talking about how he'd love to have it if it wasn't a 6 speed manual transition. I wanted to bitch slap him.

The interior had Recaro seats that were two tone leather (black bolsters with tan inserts). They shoulda had the hood open to show off the 6.2 motor and that supercharger that makes about 550ish horsepower. At about $70,000, I will never have the pleasure of owning one of these.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Endurance Cross

I read about this new race on the Dicks site and really thought it was neat. It's supposed to be an endurance cross race of 100 miles. It's in Jefferson City, Missouri. There is no entry fee but the promoter is asking for racers (80ish registered already) to bring items suitable to support a nearby no-kill shelter (things like food, bowls, etc.). Check it out.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Gold Belt Tour

Today I got out for about 3 hours of one of the nicest rides I've done in a while. It wasn't on singletrack but it was still really cool. I drove out to Gilett and parked near the KOA and started a really nice loop towards Cripple Creek and then through Victor. This area is rich in mining history and there's still a lot of gold being extracted from that area. My loop basically went around one of the largest mines in that area. In the slideshow you'll see one picture with tiered levels of gravel. They were massive. On the right of the picture you'll see two dump trucks. Those trucks use tires that are over 12 feet high. You can barely see them in the picture. There's also a picture of my bike next to one of those tires. They have a max load of 311 tons and they cost $24,500 a piece. I'm definitely going back to ride that loop again. I passed up several opportunities to ride up either trails or gravel roads to check out really old mine shafts and equipment.

What an amazing ride!!

I got out for a 3 hour ride today out by the gold mines in Cripple Creek and Victor. There is some really amazingly cool old mining gear out there. I love checking that stuff out. I did get some really cool pictures and I think I'll put those into a slideshow later on tonight. But...whenever I ride, I am always looking on the side of the road for stuff. Sometimes I find cool sunglasses, bones, tools, antlers, etc. but today I saw this tackle box and then turned around to make sure I had really seen it. It was way down this embankment. I climbed down there and started going through it.

Spoons from Daredevil and Kastmaster are easily 5 dollars a piece. I bet I brought home 20 of them in addition to about 10 Rapala's. There was tons of Power bait and all kinds of other crap in there too. Not sure how the hell it got there. Then I looked around and saw all of these hanging from a nearby tree.

Then I found this.

And this.

These are wooden lures that were made back in about 1930 by a company called Paw Paw. The top one is a 9100 Runt lure and the bottom one is a Pike replica lure. I bet these are worth 15 bucks a piece. What a killer day. Hope you all did something cool.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Not sure why I like riding in the Deckers area as much as I do but...I do. Probably because I get to ride right next to the river for most of the day but there's also a lot of good options out there too (plenty of ATV trails and there's that one Colorado Trail, not to mention all of the shady people growing marijuana out in the hills). Today I stuck to a bit of pavement and then a good chunk of moist fire roads.

This was the start of about an hour straight worth of climbing. I was a little worried but I was able to ride it all even though a chunk at the end was done so at an alarmingly slow pace (more on this in a bit).

After topping out on the climb, I was rewarded with this.

Cool old Ford truck. I'm sure it would fire right up.

This part of the climb put the hurts to me in a big way. It was 15%. Shortly after this I started having my first bit of trouble with the El Mariachi. The rear cog was looser than a thrift store turtleneck. Luckily, it was all downstream or flat back to the car so I was able to limp it on in. I needed another spacer to tighten things up. It was tight before I left so the only thing I can think of is that my brute strength shrunk the thickness of the spacers. I'm quite strong.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Side of the road treasures

It's not unusual for me to see tools, bungee cords, random keys, used condoms, key chains, etc. while out riding. For some reason, when riding back in Missouri (mostly South County) you could see girly magazines in the ditch. Sometimes I stop to check some of these treasures out. Sometimes I actually throw them in my pack (never the girly mags or used condoms though..honestly). Today there was no time for debate. I passed these and made an immediate 180. You can only find glasses like these at finer truck stops along major interstates. Woodland Park.

Vans and things

Friday night I stumbled upon a 2002 Eurovan with 90,000 miles on it that I knew could be mine for 5 grand. I mentioned it to Heather in passing (my way of planting the seed). Saturday morning she asked if I wanted to go get it. The one pictured is a Westy with the pop top. The one I was looking at was just a straight up 7 passenger model but it was blue with these wheels. The downer about this model is that the back seat isn't really one you can sleep on. I think I could find the back seat and table out of a Weekender model but I think the mounting points are different and would require some fabrication to make work. It belongs to my good friend Adam. Through the years we have swapped cars often because we both get tired of them every few years.

I love these vehicles. There's simply gobs of power from the VR6 motor. They had the cool climate control. All of the AC components have been replaced. The auto trans works fine. They are supposed to be super easy to work on. However, the biggest downside of them is that VW didn't make any extra parts for them. If that normal CV style axle (which many vehicles use) decides to grenade then you either have to find a replacement at a junkyard or get it rebuilt where they grind it all out and then go to bigger bearings. These vehicles are very hard to find in the yard which is why you generally see speciality yards where all they do is these and then they can charge whatever they want for parts and there's NEVER any negotiating. You can get the alternator for this either directly from Bosch or from a special yard place in San Francisco for $500. You can get it at NAPA as well but they're gonna order it from Bosch and it then runs $600 with a hundred dollar core charge.

When the AC stuff was redone it needed a relay. There was 1 in the country and it sold for $90. That cool climate control is not operated via vacuum lines or cables but all by a separate computer. I can't imagine there's many of those floating around. So...I decided to pass on it because, at some point, something is going to wrong with it and it's going to cost a fortune to fix.

I love my Subaru. As I'm getting older (it just so happens that I'll officially be another year older this week) I find that I want a vehicle that can do it all. The wagon hauls a boatload of crap. It's rock solid reliable. Super fun to drive with all of the suspension/brake upgrades it's gotten. It's killer in the snow and on fire roads where it's rally inspired genes shine through. I'm going to do the adult thing and just hang on to it until I get a bit older and buy a Buick or an Oldsmobile.

That about covers the Vans. The such would be that I got out for a great 2 hour ride on the SS yesterday. Then Heather and I went to PF Changs for a less than stellar dinner. The Egg Drop soup seemed extra slimy. I'm not that guy that bitches at restaurants but our server asked if I wanted to try the other soup and I said sure. I was not aware that it had Tofu in it though. I don't understand Tofu but I find the texture to be simply stomach turning. Ever try to casually spit Tofu into a napkin? The meal itself was good. The lady sitting at the table next to us had the biggest eyes I've ever seen and, frankly, they were creeping me out.

Oh well...It's Sunday morning. I'm going to sit here and continue to drink coffee while listening to the great Gillian Welch and David Rawlings while I try to figure out where to ride. Get out there and do something fun!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Eriksen Cycles

After talking with the folks at Eriksen the other day about the shipping mishap on the seat post I mentioned that, in my excitement, I was worried that my seat post was a touch short. They asked what the measurements were and then agreed that I probably should have gone longer and said, "Want us to ship you another one to swap it out?" I said, "No...because I already installed it and it was my fault for not measuring more accurately." Today I came home to find yet another seat post that measured 360mm long along with a call tag for the other two posts. I'm speechless. I wish I got paid more so I could support them and ride one of their frames. If they are paying this much attention to a customer buying only a seat post, I can only imagine their involvement on a custom frame. Thanks again Eriksen.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Maiden Voyage

Today I wanted to ride the Salsa for the first time. I looked at the Gazetteer over coffee and found a trail that I've ridden past several times but never knew it was there so I decided to go try to find it. It's in the Decker's area so I parked behind the fly shop and had a little bit of pavement to ride along the river before turning off and heading towards Sedalia. I was only on the fire road for 1.5 miles before I got to the trailhead. It didn't look pretty. There was lot's of snow but an ATV had been up it so I was able to walk in one track and push the bike in the other. Until the ATV decided to turn around.

At that point, I really didn't want to turn around because all I had been doing was walking in snow. So I decided to walk in deeper snow. Unfortunately, this went on for EVER. It wasn't that far to get back to the next fire road but it just never ended. My shoes and socks were soaked. I started thinking about whether I should start bushwacking and make a beeline for the fire road or stick to the trail. I stuck to the trail. For another hour. Then, fed up, I decided to head off trail. This proved to be a big mistake.

The topography was brutally steep, rocky, icy, and snowy. At one point, it took me 30 minutes to get 50 feet up a hill. I fell backwards a few times and even yelled out in frustration towards the end. I eventually found a creek and decided to try to parallel it all the way to the road which was now 2 miles away. After fumbling up a few more steep ravines, I finally gave up, with daylight fading and temps dropping, and decided to just walk in the creek. It was cold but it was better than dealing with the saplings of trees that never ended.

A bit further on and I saw something odd. It appeared to be sleeping bags. You never know what you're gonna run into out in the sticks and it's the 2 legged critters that normally concern me. I got closer and was hoping this wasn't going to be some creepy Chris McCandless deal that ended in finding a body in one of the bags. Both were empty but it's still weird. Fifteen steps more and I looked to my left and saw a bunch of trash. Ramen noodle wrappers, hot sauce, probably 100 empty cans of salsa, trash bags, buckets, propane tanks, pots, pans, clothes, etc. This was probably someone either hiding/running or some low budget grow camp. If I would have known I was going to be off trail, I would have been more prepared. I marked the coordinates on GPS and will get with the local folks but they already know there's a lot of that stuff in the area. I may backpack into the area again this weekend to pack out all that shit. I got out of there and eventually ran into the road and then had about a 30 minute ride back to the car.

These are the pics I took today. Normally I mix them up but I left these in the order they were shot. The abandoned camp shots are ugly but I wanted to share them. I was only supposed to ride for an hour and a half today but I think I actually pedaled for 2 and hiked for 4.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

This is for Bogs

My buddy Bogs mentioned how that Black Sheep I posted up looks like it's got some McClung in it. For a long time now, Don has built bikes the way he wants to build them. I'd love to have him build me something but I don't care to run cantilever brakes and, for a long time, that's what Don has done (in addition to only building singlespeed stuff with truss forks). I got these pictures a while ago from a reliable source and they are supposed to be built by Don. I can't confirm this but, if it's true, it's exciting and very different from what any McClung I've ever seen.

In this picture you can see the EBB shell, disc tabs and a sexy EBB to chain stay connection.

This is pretty exotic. I haven't been able to find out anything else about this build yet but I'm digging.

I included this picture because it made me think of Bogs. This is what I think of when I hear McClung. I think this one belongs to a guy on the east coast. He's currently running Avid V-brake style brakes but it used to have Campy Record OR brakes.

And since we're talking about McClung's we might as well as talk about this kooky guy. He's also a Salida local and one of the guys that I look up to the most. He's not on a McClung in this picture but he's probably still got his. This is Jason Shelman. I met Jason in 2008 when I first attempted the Colorado Trail Race. Jason showed up and pulled his bike out of the back of his friend's car, slung his messenger bag over his shoulder and was ready to go. He wore baggy shorts and a short sleeve button up shirt and rode on platform pedals and running shoes. He is a very strong rider and a true inspiration.

New bike

After a long wait...the El Mariachi is finally done. The big hold up was the Eriksen seat post. I won't go into the entire story but the bottom line is that Katy was honest and got things straightened out for me today and that's all that counts. The short story of it is that there was a mix up along the way and it appears that it was the fault of UPS but, ironically, 2 of these posts showed up today. Katy...I'll shoot the extra one back to you tomorrow. I'm ecstatic with the way I was treated by Eriksen and if I ever decide to have a custom ti bike built, they are the first I will contact. I decided to get mango hardware to match the Chris King goodies and I'm glad I did.

Killer etching on the back of the post.

So the bars ended up being 5mm higher than the carbon bike with 20mm of suspension sag and it felt ok in the garage. I also left 20mm on top of the stem so I could play with things a bit. I'm a tad worried that I should have gotten a 360mm seat post instead of 300mm because I'm right on the bubble of the minimum insertion but I think I'll be ok.

I was hoping that this build would come in under 24lbs but I had my doubts. As it sits here with the beefy platform pedals on it weighs 23.4lbs. I actually might get inside 23 with SPD's. Probably not though.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Cool bikes

This bike belongs to a guy named Don out of South Carolina. I love this thing. Hopefully he's ok with me stealing the image from his blog. Lately, I've been doing more admiring of vintage bicycles. This is the fork and handlebar I originally wanted to put on the Salsa but I was afraid of how it would handle on an off the shelf frame. I also didn't wanna go too bat shit crazy on my first dedicated singespeed rig. The seat tube angle on this bike is something like 68. So the entire bike has been designed around Don and the use of the funky bars and truss fork and he's still able to run a 110 stem.

Typically, I do not care for Black Sheep bikes because most of them have these crazy curving tubes all over and I tend to like things to be a bit more subtle. I love the seat stays and brake bridge on this. They are much more traditional in design. I can't stop looking at the double top tube with the single bend. This style is also repeated in the single bend in the fork. Don worked with James to make this a modern day bike based upon the looks of an early (1920's?) Elgin bicycle. It's hard to see in this picture but Don worked with Homebrewed Components to make a front chainring that would go on the Middleburns and look like the chainrings from long ago. Wheels from that Curiak guy roll him along. One of the more interesting things about this bike is the chain tensioning system. There's no EBB and the dropouts don't slide. The chain stays are telescoping and you just have to loosen a bolt on each side and then press down on the seat to take up the slack and then tighten those bolts back up. Don says he loves it.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Stop riding bikes.

This is what I have been instructed to do. At least for a little bit. This past week I put my road bike on the trainer because it is the only bike I have that is complete right now. My neck locked right up the next day. Stubbornly, I rode it for another hour the next day and things got worse. So I haven't done anything bike related for 3 days now and my neck feels much better. The range of motion is still limited and it's painful when I push it too far but I am able to sleep through the night. I will probably be getting rid of the road bike here real soon and coming up with a way to ride one of the 29ers on the trainer when I need to. I've also been instructed to build the carbon bike up enough to at least ride it on a trainer for a bike fitting. Admittedly, my Doctor doesn't know much about bike fit but he thinks that is the problem. So he's sending me to a guy this week to have him look at it.