Saturday, February 28

Century Crew

The century crew knocked off a last day of February century today with Erik, Brett, Jeremy and new this month Brady following me around a tour of Denver bike paths with a detour over Lookout Mountain. 108 miles and 6k feet of climbing on a nice, sunny, if slightly chilly day. Nice late AM start and sunset finish, sweet.Looking forward to March boys!

Thursday, February 26

Just one of those days

Once and a while you are treated to an amazing day and yesterday was one of those. I have no pictures, just the ones that live inside my mind. I was up early with wifey and packed my BD flash for a trip up to the flatirons, some water, some snacks and other odds and ends. I rode up to Boulder, warm, almost windless and sunny. By 10:15 I was hiking up the trails and by 11 I was well up the 1st Flatiron. On the way up I found a bunch of cool old stuff like an SMC buttonhead, a scary ghetto old 1/4" bolt and homemade hanger and even a stuck yellow TCU that I almost got out except I didn't have a nut tool with me. As I made my way along the North Arete I found some more small booty and cleaned up a bunch of tattered old webbing pieces. I chatted with another couple climbers for a while and then paused to let them go ahead and chat with another really nice couple from Vermont as they were finishing up their pitch on Fandango. After a quick few ups and downs to the summit proper I sat down and had my lunch looking out over the city and the IPW and being amazed to not even have a jacket on. A quick rap with the couple from VT brought me back down to earth and then the guy and I headed over to do The Spy real quick while his wife went to go grab them some food. The were on vacation and headed up to Winter Park after a wonderful sunny day of climbing! After we climbed the Spy we headed down and went our separate ways. I took the long way home from Boulder and didn't stop riding until the sun was almost setting.

The only bummer of the day was that Marni is getting sick so I grabbed some groceries from the store and made her some soup and we watched a movie and went to bed early. Poor sweetie, I hope she feels better soon.

Tuesday, February 24

Leadville Winter MTB #3

Last Saturday morning saw me up early, driving once again to beautiful Leadville for Winter Race #3. After a nice birthday party on Friday night, much of the same crew packed their snow bikes and headed up for a little fun racing.
Thanks for my new hat mom :) It was sunny and warm enough when we rolled up to the Mt.Massive golf course to check in. This race was a relay and we all managed to find teammates. Erik and Brett were the SS class entrants, Marni and Michelle were the all girl power team and Shawn M emailed me to and I gladly accepted Mr.Speedy onto my team. They started the race at 30 second intervals which made it harder and more fun because you didn't know where they other people were in relation to your position. All out TT effort!
Lap one we got to race around the golf course with Elbert and Massive towering above us. After Marni and my hike on those this past summer, it's always really fun to see them. Plus we could see Sherman too which we hiked with Jessie and Mom.
Brett heading out for lap one.
Michelle on lap one.
Shawn about to blaze lap one in just under 10 minutes.
Marni and I waiting for our turn. We both decided to go 2nd since we would have better setups than our partners for choppy snow conditions.
Erik headed out on his big road lap.
Me finishing up the big road lap.
Post race beers from Dale's, just one of the awesome benefits of doing these races. Shawn and I managed to win the race, big thanks to Shawn's 2 fast laps and no thanks to me crashing on both laps, whooops. Luckily no major injuries, just a bump on the knee and a hole in a jersey. Two other teams were right behind us though with Sterling and Chad only a minute and a half down. I was really feeling my training in my legs and luckily the next race will hit me at a bit fresher spot in my cycle.
Erik and Michelle with Mt.Elbert in the background.
Marni finishing up her road lap. She did so good on both laps!
Post race kiss :)
This guy rode a Muni for his laps, super duper impressive!
The gang.
After the race we stopped into Melanzana and the Ugly Cookie company before heading home. Yum!
The next race is March 8th and it should be a good one. That course took me about 45 minutes last year and this year they're starting at 9am to try to beat the warm up and snow softening on the course. Can't wait!

Some more awesome pictures from Michelle here too.

Thursday, February 19

Get'n old

It's been a long time since I haven't had to work on my birthday (#27) so I decided to put it to good use. Mother Nature decided that today would be nice - sunny and not too rediculously windy - so I took the Vassago out for it's first 100 miler. I warmed up by riding to some nice singletrack over by Marshall Mesa with some sweet views of Eldo and the Flatirons and then decided to get serious. I headed into Boulder, popped up the bike paths to Canyon and climbed Magnolia all the way to the Peak to Peak highway. Above 8300 feet it was snowing and I froze for a while climbing to the top and then coming back down but my free birthday coffee from Peaberry in Boulder and some chocolates warmed me back up. I headed home back on the paths, a bit more Marshall Mesa, Coalton and then up the Wall. I rolled in after dark with 100 miles and 9000 feet of climbing according to Mr.GPS. Not a bad first hundy on the new bike. The 32x18 gearing was MUCH better and 25psi front, 32 psi rear felt pretty good with tubes. I'm not sure about the ESI grips still and I think I need to throw the 105mm stem on but overall it felt pretty good. The new shoes are also breaking in pretty good and after a few more tweaks I think they'll work well on the AZT for hiking. The laces annoy me but I think I'm going to get some speed laces for them.

Thanks everyone for all the nice emails and Facebook messages today, I really appreciate it. Now if you'll excuse me, Marni just got home with some wings, yum!

Wednesday, February 18

First Ice Fix

Marni had Monday off from school and since she has both school and grad class on my actual birthday, we spent Monday as my pseudo birthday activity day instead. I was pretty surprised but quite happy that she offered to belay me and take me ice climbing! Since there was a little bit of nearby ice in Clear Creek Canyon we got some late breakfast and headed off to figure out where it was.Me gearing up.
There was another group of 3 already on the ice when we arrived but luckily they were very nice and didn't mind if I setup another top rope. I even got an "Ice screws 101 lesson" at the base of the climb which was cool.
I hiked around back and setup my top rope, throwing it into the trees (ooops) to avoid everyone below me. The rappel down was 3 distinct steps however so it was easy to straighten out my mess. Here you can get a little sense of scale of the lowest and largest of the 3 steps.
Marni was having a lot of fun with the camera and got some really nice pictures of me. Thanks babe!
The view from behind an ice curtain.
Coming off one of many rappels of the day. A 60m rope was just long enough to toprope the lower pitch of Coors Lite as long as you extend the anchors with some long slings.
My tools in pretty soft plastic ice. Good for a first day. There had been a lot of traffic so you could hook your way up most of the time without having to swing.
Climb up, rap down. Repeat until you figure out what the hell you're doing.
Ice does make for some cool pictures. Can't wait to get out to Vail or Ouray.
I did about 6 laps on the wall, gradually getting more and more comfortable. Swinging the tools was pretty much like I imagined it would be and I had the most fun just hooking interesting features. Getting the hang of kicking my toes in properly took a little getting used to but by the end of the day I was getting it and at least my calves never bothered me so I must not have been doing too terribly.

Generally falling is not recommended on ice as your tools and pons are pretty sharp. I didn't fall all day but I did have a few minor slips when I blew my front points or unweighted a hooked tool improperly. I was always able to catch myself without weighting the rope though. Sadly the only time I put my crampons through my pants leg was stepping higher on my first couple laps. Oooops. Oh well, they're small patchable holes, sorry Jessie!
By later in the afternoon the ice was starting to get pretty wet soo I decided that was enough. I didn't want to destroy anything for other climbers and I was able to climb the most vertical section of each step easily. My last lap I tried some mixed climbing on the rock to the right of the ice and that was a lot of fun too. I felt pretty comfortable on the tools, mostly it will take getting used to the crampons on my feet I think and generally a lot of practice.
All and all it was an awesome day. So many people seem to think ice climbing is scary and cold and just insane but I really don't feel that way. With proper gear, clothing, a little (or a lot in my case...) of instructional reading before hand it can be a lot of fun, at least on easy climbs like this. Sure you should take it seriously from a safety perspective as you should all things climbing but otherwise it's not such a crazy thing.
Until I get my next fix I'm back to playing in the garage but at least I've finally tried it and had a great time to boot!

Tuesday, February 17

Another sweetheart singlespeed ride

Taking it to the beach...
Singlespeed powa
The land whale makes his debut!
Ah my pretty
Until next time, keep those pedals turning!

Monday, February 16

Another small step

towards what I really want to do...

Sunday, February 15


The last week has just not been good blogging material. A large part of my rides have been very specific and non picturesque indoor trainer sessions. Okay okay, self portraits aren't picturesque either. Luckily I broke open my stash of Initial D movies that Marni bought me a long time ago to help pass the time. Car racing, even cartoon style, makes for good motivation to suffer.

When I have been outside it's been a bit cold and windy making me more likely to focus on the trail and riding hard to keep warm enough. I did have a great outdoor singletrack session in some snow on the new bike and I'm really liking it. I know it's going to be even cushier once I go tubeless. Too bad I haven't had any really normal dry sessions to do real tire testing. Other than riding I've been spending time studying (one month to go...), preparing gearlists and strategies for this year's big events and helping Marni everywhere I can as she's busy with work and her grad class.

This weekend Turbo has a friend over to play with. As you can see they're good at wearing themselves out :) Too bad she doesn't know how to sleep in like our lazy pup!
And I might have gotten myself a little early birthday present on Friday...
I finally found a good set of tools for (super) cheap. I promise to take pictures of ice climbing session #1 as soon as I find someone to take me out. In the meantime it's making my core workouts a hell of a lot more fun.
Good luck to all the Old Pueblo riders, less than 4 hours to go! Gut it out and get the job done. There are some good races out there, at least from what I can tell by watching the online results. I feel a little twinge of disappointment about not being there but with Moab being 24 hr Nats this year I am starting to think about sacking up for another lap race. Let's see if SS class is rigid only or open to squishy forks? I suppose I might have to get a 29er Reba if it's not rigid only.

Alright that's all the rambling I've got. Time to go make another cup of tea.

Wednesday, February 11

Leadville Winter MTB #2

Leadville Winter race #2 was this past weekend, thanks to Cycles of Life and the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center. Last year they put on a hell of a race and word must have gotten out as there were 65(!) entrants to this year's event. Being a night race, Marni and I met the gang in the afternoon after a lazy morning and headed up to Leadville. We stopped in town for some coffee and snacks before heading off to Ski Cooper. The parking lot was packed and we got all checked in and psyched to race. I got dressed and out to warm up pretty early as a rest week usually leaves my legs pretty dead to race efforts. I did some climbing alone and then came back to tweek tire pressures on my bike as well as Marni's. The course was pretty fast and there would be a new longer section added this year to increase our race times a bit. Before long we all gathered outside and I did my best to stay warm in my relatively light clothing.
Marni and Erik were queued up near the back along with Bill. Brett drove up with us and was racing too although I never quite found him on the start line, probably too focused on getting ready to race and staying warm.
We had a good crew racing up front again this week with Mark, Doug, Cannon, Chad and quite a few other speedy guys in attendance.
The flag dropped and off we went! I'm always happy to get rolling. After the opening scramble settled down a bit I headed up the first climb with Chad. He got a gap on a steep part where the Endo's spun but I closed back down before the downhill and jumped up into the lead. I could see a bunch of chasers so I tried to keep the bike upright on the crazy steep parts and open up a gap. By the time we hit fish flats another rider had caught me but I pulled away again as the flat section let me turn on the power a bit. The flat section was loooong and I got a good gap on most of the chasers save one, Cannon. He caught me right near the end of that section and jumped away on the first hill at the exit. I tried to close the gap but fatty (aka the Pugs) was having none of it. He snuck away, almost out of sight and the extended chase was on.
We came though the start finish area and I figured he had me but I kept chasing just in case anything happened. I finished up about a minute down to take 2nd place and put another couple minutes into third. After I finished I had to ummm, go get a sock to warm up a particularly sensitive part that got a little chilly out there. Then I grabbed my puffy and cheered on everyone else as they came across the line. Bill rocked out there and soon Erik came though too.
Another minute later and Brett came though. Nice job to Erik and Brett on their singles!
A little bit later miss Marni came through, easy to spot with the Epic Designs pogies on her bars. I didn't want her to have chilly hands and she didn't so thanks to Eric at Epic, the pogies are a success again. Marni had a short lap to go so I rode near her for her last part. She looked really tired but was still climbing the hills really well and caught even more guys on her last lap! I can't wait to see how she does on the dirt this year after a lot of SS training :)
We powered up the last hill for the 2nd time and she headed on down to the finish.
She was the first SS woman and finished midpack among all the girls, I'm so proud of her.
After we were all finished we headed inside the lodge for some great food and an awesome post race party. Eventually we had to head home so off to I-70 and a couple hours later we were tucked in bed. What a great way to spend a Saturday!
You can check out more pictures at the Vail Daily and also check out Michelle's pictures of the race. The next race is February 21st, hope to see a few more of you guys and gals out there!