Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Over the weekend I dug out a box containing the components that I used for a ride last August. It's mostly an XT kit but I love the shifters. Truth be told, I'd rather ride SS but this will be a tall order. So, I stripped the Salsa down, cleaned it up and built it in preparation for what's coming. After much thought, I decided to leave the Niner fork on instead of switching to a suspension fork. This may change in the next few weeks but the suspension fork sits quite a bit lower and I'm having trouble with one of the discs in my neck again and need another shot but that won't happen soon. I'm so much more comfortable with this fork but I know there will be times I'll question the decision. I was going to wait another week to build this up but the Orbea that I've been training on is sooooo stiff and the Salsa just feels sooooo good. I have a really big ride this weekend and I wanted to do it on this bike and see if it helped my comfort. If I'm more comfortable then I'll be more confident going into this. 

I've been going over ride reports, looking at topo maps, figuring out where to find water, talking to people, putting gear into piles, adding things, removing things, doing math, etc. I don't really know what to expect but I know it's going to hurt badly. I basically know what to expect out of the terrain and weather but I don't know how long it's going to take me. I'm hoping for a finish of 16-18 hours but we'll see. So psyched for a little adventure and soul searching.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Big Rides

During a typical year, and especially over the last 6 years, I have never been in all that great of shape in spring. There was never a need to since I was focusing on something at the beginning of August. This year, I've been riding quite a bit in order to get ready for something earlier. It's fast approaching and I don't know that I'm ready. Although, if I've learned one thing from all of my attempts at the Colorado Trail, it's that you are never truly ready. Even when you think you are. Mechanicals, stomach issues, weather, your brain, and the sleep monster are all unknowns. On Friday I left work early in a mood and decided to go turn pedals over in anger for some therapy. I ended up being out for 5 hours and 60 miles and completely cracked in the last 5 miles. On Saturday, my intent was to ride down the mountain on some old, little used singletrack and then ride a bit on the Santa Fe Trail and then meet Heather at REI so we could run errands and grab lunch. It was a beautiful day and it appears that spring may finally be here in the Rockies. I got a little carried away with the ride and ended up with 4 hours and 50 miles. This is up above Manitou Springs and that's highway 24 in the distance. It's sad to see a different perspective of the burn area. 

This is a section of the Ring the Peak trail that leads right up to that saddle. It's been years since I've been on this and I don't think I've ever come down it. Much more fun than pushing up. The RTP trail from the top of that saddle (at the water tank) all the way to Waldo Canyon used to be singletrack but it's a highway right now. Not sure what the workers are doing but they clear cut the area and it's all packed in double track. 

This is on the Paul Inteman Trail as it winds up above Manitou Springs. Amazing views of Colorado Springs. You can see the rock formations of Garden of the Gods near the center of the picture.

And a little post ride beverage. I think was from Friday night and it hurt to hold the bottle.

I don't have too much more time to get ready for what's coming and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit intimidated. I know I will not be able to ride like I have been riding. I will have to be much more disciplined but it's still gonna be a tall order to fill.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Revelate Designs Repair

About a month ago my security in the garage was breached by a rodent. Said rodent gained access into a remote location of the garaginous zone and found it's way into some of my bikepacking gear. Over a year ago, I ordered 2 of these Mountain Feedbags from Eric at Revelate Designs. I have not used them yet. I did, however, put some food in one of them and leave it in there. In hindsight, this was not a good idea. Not at all. My one complaint with Revelate is that Eric does not use more robust fabric in his designs. I was upset but, in the end, victory was mine. I set a trap in a corner baited with an erotic mix of chocolate and peanut butter that no mouse could resits. In less than 24 hours I tasted success. And blood. 

Fast forward to today. I received some information about a trail that I am planning on attempting a through ride of within the next month. I began pouring over maps and trying to determine how many calories to bring. How much water was available on the trail? How much of it would I need to carry? How light could I go? How much beer should I bring? I'm still not certain. I did think that this would be the perfect ride for these bags though. First, I had to go about determining if the damage was able to be repaired or if I would be making a call to the frozen north tomorrow morning. I found similar material in this MSR bag and cut it to fit. Then I started sewing. With just a needle and thread. Unlike Eric, I don't need fancy machines. I would have liked to put the lettering on the inside but I used the letters to make sure the makeshift patch was straightish to satisfy my OCD.

The finished product turned out just fine. Eric's design lives on. Mouses be damned!! Now I shall be able to carry less food on my back for the all out assault that is soon to come. Details on that ride to follow. Hope you all were able to sew something sweet today.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Random photos

I've been riding quite a bit lately and yesterday I built up to 5 hours. My ass hurts today. While I intend to keep things fun this year, I do have something big in mind and it's right around the corner so I don't have too much time to prep. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't intimidated by this route. It's long and dry and long. Should be a really good time. I'm excited though too because I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders since finally completing the Colorado Trail. For the CT, a 100 mile day is pretty big. This next ride will need to be done in one effort so the mileage is considerably more. 

These are some images from the last few weeks. The other day Scott Dobbins said this blog was leaving a lot to be desired here lately. My feelings were feeling like ass. Hurt. So here ya go. This is one of my favorite roads because it's right out the back door. For the last few years my standing record from the garage to the top of a tough little climb out of town to this very road has routinely taken me 32 minutes. The last few times I've ridden up it I've been feeling really great but didn't time it. Eventually I did and I was 29:36. This road runs (relatively flat) all 40 miles to Sedalia. I was planning on shooting for being able to comfortably ride 100 miles (maybe a touch more) right before leaving for this next trip and probably doing it right here.  

If you ride south on the road above, it takes you right above town and eventually hooks up with a great 13 mile loop of singletrack around a beautiful reservoir. That area was hit really hard during the Waldo Canyon fire and it's still closed but I wanted to see how far I could go. It's good to see the elk are still up there.

Maybe a half mille further is a gate across the road where it closes. The trail is just beyond the gate. This was a major fire break that probably saved my house. You can just see the line in the background.

This is from a ride. I have no idea when this was taken but I was just on the same mountain looking at the same view yesterday. That's Kenosha Pass way off in the distance. I do an out and back ride from Deckers to Buffalo Creek quite a bit. There's a little side U that you can throw in to make things a bit tougher. If you hit it on the way out, it's a 4 mile climb with a gentle grade. If you hit it on the return trip (like I did yesterday) it's a 6 mile climb that hits 15% in several spots early on in the climb.

This is just down the road from the Sprucewood Bar. I've often thought about stopping in for a beer during my ride. Next time I'm gonna do just that. Sometimes the logging companies work up this road but they go up from the other side. This gets really tight. 

This is the first gut check. Pisses me off that the picture makes it look so tame. I had a Douglas County Sheriff follow me most of the way up this and it sucked because I felt obligated to push harder. Cruel and unusual.

That's about it. Back to the salt mines tomorrow. The weekend flew by. Another spring storm is supposed to hit this week. I'm ready for some warm weather. Hope you got out and did something cool over the weekend. Thanks for checking in.