Friday, August 29

Hello old friends

It's been a long time (8 years??) since I slipped these boys on my piggies. They're darn tight but I forgot just how grippy they are. I can't imagine what it must be like with "modern" shoes if they're better these days. First of many sessions starting this fall. I was encouraged by how I felt today scrambling 4th and low 5th around the first place I ever really climbed outside. Mind and body control was better than I ever remember it being before. Maybe I'm like fine wine? Okay probably not.

DC style goal: Lead solid 5.10 alpine trad by next summer
Testpiece A: Sunlight Spire - 5.10 - 2 pitches - 150 feet - 14,000ft elevation
Beta here, here and here.Testpiece B: Casual Route - 5.10a - 7 pitches - 900 feet - 14,259ft elevation
Beta here, here, and here.Those are probably big goals but I don't see why they wouldn't be possible. Might as well dream big and then start chasing.

Marni and I are taking a climbing class together soon too, just as soon as she tells me what night I can schedule it. I don't think she's ever been in rock shoes and she's only been roped up once or twice.

Tomorrow is King of the Rockies. Last XC race for the season I think so I better get to bed.

Thursday, August 28

Important links

Griz posted this one yesterday, the U.S. Geological Survey Photographic Library. You owe it to yourself to check these out. Here is a very small sample of my favorites so far and all on my to do list. I do warn you, hours can disappear here and there's a great search function.
Photo from 1932 - Lizard Head - 13,156ft in the San Juans.

Really cool 1873 exploration survey of Longs Peak.

Denali circa 1919

Also Eric and Dylan are trying to bike the Lost Coast. Follow the expedition here. Way past certifiably bad ass. Jill is maintaining the commentary and sat phone call ins. Pictures stolen from their blog.Dylan packrafting with bike

Hubbard Glacier

With pictures from link one and explorers from link two, how can you not be excited about adventure travel? Mind bottling...

The sun does set

Yesterday was good times. Rage Against the Machine concert, Ride Against the Machine group ride and some great colors as we were almost back to the parking lot. I'll shut up now so my words don't ruin the pictures.

Last night was one of those times when I felt like I wish I knew more about how to take a good picture. Even my little point and shoot digital camera's full usage eludes me.

Wednesday, August 27

Random Update

This will have to be fast and way random as I'm already late to jet out of the house but this is also long overdue.

Last week I saw these guys hanging out in the water on the big lake. Then I thought, "this lake is really big, I wonder if I can packraft on it?" I still don't have an answer but it would be cool to float closer to these guys and the eagles to shoot more pictures.I other news we raced last weekend. After the race I spilled recovery drink on our good camera which now is refusing to take pictures in any color but black. Dammit. Oh well, it does give a good weird picture of Bill here though.
And his rental bike after he found a MASSIVE crack in the headtube weld of his Yeti, RIP.
Here is Shawn avoiding actually being in the picture.
Nicolette rolling in to the finish, complete with war wounds.
Followed by Shawn avoiding the photo again as Marni finishes.
Happy Marni rolling up to the group. Why is she happy?
See she's still smiling...
Maybe because of this? Her first "real" podium in Sport class as she took 3rd place!
The girls kicked some booty! 1st and 3rd for this race and 1st and 2nd locked up for the series. I think we may have some Expert women next year.
I guess in order to train for that Marni wanted to be like me. Look who is rolling a new singlespeed. Oh wait, she's cooler than me 'cause it's a 29er! Thanks Salvagetti!
Still loving the sunsets around here. Beautiful end to our ride last night.
My cute sweetie.
Foothills looming in the background. It's still early in the "new bike cycle" but if the 29er makes Marni half as much faster as it appeared last night, I'm totally going to have to get one. It really hits home when you're following someone down terrain you know and they're going faster than they've ever gone and on a fully rigid bike at that!
Give me more ice cream bowl to lick!
And now your moment of Zen...a panda bear going buildering.
That's it, I'm out. Brett and I are going to the Rage Against the Machine concert!

Thursday, August 21

Less serious

The last two posts have been a little serious for my tastes so today is going to be pictures from this week's riding. Tuesday's climb leads to a little peak of the big mountains when it tops out around 8500 ft. I see you!
Last night we rode Chimney Gulch and Apex. Our starting group of Erik, Brett, Marni and I added Matt, JimB and Steven as we climbed.
We had a regular party at the windy saddle but we had to keep moving to beat darkness.
Sun says bye bye much earlier these days, summer is waning.
This little guy was not eager to get off the trail and was quite irritated with us so we actually had to bushwhack around him! Quite a bit of fun riding this week already and now I'm off to figure out where to ride today. Tonight will be early to bed to rest up for this weekend's XC racing. Marni has 2 races to go in the WP series (next 2 weekends) and she's doing really well in the Sport womens field so I'm excited to go support her in finishing off the series strong.

Wednesday, August 20

Teaching High School Math and Science?

A while back I submitted an alternative teaching license application to the Colorado Department of Education as some of you already know. This morning I got a big envelope with the results of their review of my transcript and so far I'm pretty happy. I'm qualified in terms of coursework to teach secondary math pending passing the PRAXIS or PLACE math subject test. Considering I've done math for engineering beyond differential equations that should be a given but I don't make the rules. In science they say I'm just missing 6 credit hours of biology which I actually may already have but I need to contact the CDE about that. I'm hoping they missed the credits given for my 5 (highest score) on the AP Biology test in high which CU has recognized on my college transcript. Either way I need to rectify that through coursework or my transcript and also take the science subject area tests on the PRAXIS or PLACE.

So my next steps look like this:
1) Schedule my tests since I'll need those regardless. I've looked at the material and it's no problem as long as I do a little studying and review. Some stuff has been years since I've covered it but I'm confident in my overall understanding.
2) Contact the CDE and see if I can use my current coursework and life experience (testing in a laboratory for my last job) to round out my needed 6 biology credits.
3) Take some community college or online biology classes if the CDE still deems me deficient in that area.

If I can take care of that stuff then I should earn a letter of eligibility with which to apply to schools directly for one of several alternative teaching programs. My guess is the latest I would start teaching would be one year from now but of course that is still dependent on a few things out of my control. I would prefer (I think) to teach science but at the very least it would be nice to have both math and science endorsements to fall back on.

Yikes it's all a little scary but I think it's a good thing. I've always considered being a teacher but money had been a big road block. Now that Marni and I own a house and have a good handle on our finances and what teachers can earn, it seems like a reasonable career for both of us. Sure it will never give me six figures but it's a career where I feel like I can make a difference which is more than I've been able to say about most of the jobs I've held to this point.

JCOS Meeting News

First up is info about the JCOS meeting last night. In addition to the social call after the meeting (Ed, Jeny, Steven, JimB, Kyle, Hillary...), there was lots of information presented and public comments on the topics of yielding and trail maintenance. COMBA organized and led the meeting with quite a few members of the public being allowed time to share their views. If you weren't there and you don't support COMBA, what is your excuse? Change starts with all of us. As they stated in the meeting, they need your money but ALSO your time, ideas and passion to help support our MTB access and trails. We had 200 people at the meeting last night which was great but we could have easily had over 1000. Visual impact at meetings like this, showing JCOS how big and active of a user group we are, is important.

Overall I feel the meeting was a positive thing. JCOS got some good info out about both topics although the current yielding enforcement stuff needs to be further addressed. Most trail users aren't having yielding issues and current enforcement tactics are misguided in my opinion. They also claimed only 35 "failure to yield" tickets have been given in the past 10 years but considering I know of over a dozen myself in the past two summers, that's a little hard to believe. Whatever the history, there certainly is an increase in enforcement and all of it essentially coming in "stings", legal or not, making mountain bikers feel like second class citizens on the trail. Bikers, this is our chance to continue to yield properly and also educate others on doing so. JCOS was very big on establishing communication with other trail users to initiate a pass and we can all do that easily.

My opinion is not to let anger over the enforcement tactics distract us as trail users from what we can do during and after a ride to improve the situation. Also bikers are not always wrong, hikers don't hear us (iPods) and horses and their riders can act poorly, but that doesn't give us an excuse not to try and do the right thing. Don't make excuses or be negative, think about what positive actions you can take instead.

The trail maintenance info was very well presented and helped dispel a lot of myths about what they're doing out there and the history of some of our most popular trails. For those of you who really hate the changes at Apex and the Castle trail at Mt.Falcon, did you realize those trails were rebuilt from the ground up in 1993 and 1998 respectively? That was news to me and very interesting. JCOS is actively working to find sustainable alignments for those trails and others which overall is a positive thing. The less time they spend maintaining old trails, the more time they can spend building new ones. Good comments were made about technical terrain and obstacles acting as natural speed brakes which I think is true but it seems JeffCo is in agreement with that in general and they're not trying to make trails easier. Other comments were made about users wanting directional and/or mountain bike only trails. I'm in favor of both options but we'll see what happens.

If you're in favor or against any of this stuff then take the next step and act. Write a letter to your politicians, join COMBA, BMA or whoever is your local MTB advocacy group. Join trail work days whether that's in JeffCo or not. Write letters or comment to you local advocacy group. There are people against MTBs on the trails and they have influence. As the BMA president so aptly pointed out, "the decisions are made by those who show up." So don't just bitch on MTBR, find a positive way to improve the situation.

Alright, enough of my soapbox because I'm far from perfect but I can do better and I'm going to.

Tuesday, August 19

Good luck!

Wifey's first day with her full new kinder class is today. I was helping out in her room yesterday evening and I wish I could go back to being in kindergarten! It looks like lots of fun.
This morning I made some breakfast and had my tea. The eating healthy plan is going pretty well, I'm running out of veggies every day or two, and the results are positive. Marni did make some fresh Snickerdoodles which are oh so tempting to eat every time I walk past them
I've also got the AA charger working hard. I was a little sick of throwing away batteries not to mention the negative environmental impact of doing that so I'm trying to use rechargables as much as possible.
Tonight is the JeffCo Open Space Public Forum. I'll be home past my bedtime I'm sure but bikers need to show up and at the very least make our presence known. Helpful and intelligent comments are even better. If you ride JeffCo MTB trails you owe it to yourself and your riding partners to put your body in the room and show JeffCo how many people ride on their (awesome) trail system. Boulder's rules and trails are severely lacking by comparison but the summer crackdown that's pretty much singling out bikers is disconcerting even to me. Alright time to take Turbs out and then off on the bike.

Do You Ride A Mountain Bike in Jefferson County?

Invites You To An Open Space Trails Public Forum!
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
7 – 9 pm
Jefferson County Administration and Court Building
100 Jefferson County Parkway Golden 80401

Music: The Postal Service - Brand New Colony

Monday, August 18

Bike Commuter

We've been a single car household for quite a while now but between gas prices and Marni's stop and go commute, I think she's finally had enough. This morning we headed out early and rode together to her school. Will this be the beginning of the end of either of us using a car to commute? She'll be a beast next season if she rides to work everyday!
Heading out of the subdivision.
Others commute around here too although at 15 miles one way, Marni has a longer haul than most.
Train! I had scouted the route for her before but never this early. Luckily it's not a long one.
Once we get past I-70, the route is quite nice side streets, many with bike lanes or as designated bike routes.
Heeeere we are at her school.

After I dropped her off I headed home with a quick stop for some fresh veggies at Safeway. Now time to have our demo dog (we're dog sitting for my brother and sister in law) picked up. Then I've got some work to do here from the house and later I'll probably head down early to pick Marni up and get some training in around Golden. She doesn't quite know the route perfectly yet and I found a little better one on the way home too.
Yes that's snow on Longs Peak. Apparently the upper elevations of RMNP got 6"-12" of snow this weekend. Ah well, it will be gone soon but after a little indian summer I'm looking forward to more snow on the big peaks. Edit: Make that 2-3 FEET in the Boulderfield! :o

Lookout Mtn

Yesterday Marni and I rode Lookout Mountain from our house. It's a little over 3 hours, 44 miles and 3k feet of climbing.
Now that she did so well, that's one more climb where the car will have to stay home.
She went up pretty quick too, her second fastest time ever and fastest non-race time.
The climb is about 4.5 miles and 1400 vertical feet, 20 to 30 minutes for most people.

Plus it's got cool views of Denver and Golden plus all the paragliders.
Hmmm rare does a flat tire's cause present itself so easily.
Some minor CO2 drama and we were on our way home.
She looks too happy huh? :)
Big thanks to Darn Tough socks BTW. I did manage to kill a pair of their socks and true to their warranty they shipped another pair right out. Nice to have that kind of service and great sock to boot.