Wednesday, September 27

Centennial Cone

Just Bill and I tonight and we banged out Centennial Cone in an hour and twenty minutes before dark set in. It was a really fun ride. The leaves were turning and the trail was nearly deserted. Just Bill and I with the deer and 2 other riders the whole time. No one else even in the parking lot. I should have stopped to take some scenery pictures but we were in a hurry and only stopped a couple times to admire it as it was. Plus Marni had pizza and cake waiting for both of us at home which was awesome. Yum.
Just as we got to the end of the ride I was flying down the outside of the doubletrack when I hit something that I didn't see very hard. The huge *wham* would have instantly resulted in a pinch flat on a tubed tire. I am running tubeless on the singlespeed though and couldn't believe it didn't instantly flat. I kept riding almost all the way back to the car before the tire leaked enough air to make it totally flat and I had to walk. I could have thrown a tube in but the car was 200 yards away and I didn't think I cut the tire. Sure enough, when I got home I popped one side of the bead and all my sealant was dry. Added another 2 ounces and hit it with the compressor and it aired right back up. Score another one for DIY tubeless. That's the *first* flat I've had since I sealed that wheel up with a 2.25" Nobby Nic in a few hundred miles (or more I can't remember. sealed it at the beginning of June) of hard mountain biking. Plus I can run 30 psi in the rear now and had there been sealant in there I probably wouldn't have even flatted today. Guess I should check the level every month or two. Well didn't mean that to be a tubeless rant. In my mind when setup with appropriate tires and totally sealed it's at least as good as a tube and usually better. That's good enough for me to keep using it most of the time.
Mileage is a little below where I wanted it by today since I missed my lunch ride but oh well. Such is life. It was really great to ride with Bill. He is getting really strong. I can't wait to see what a winter and spring of base work do for him racing next year. Clydes or sports, he's going to put the hurt on a few people. Plus he took a cool timer shot today. If it came out light enough I'll post it up here. Well time for bed again. Not looking forward to tomorrow but I can't wait for the ride on Saturday.

Tuesday, September 26

Short post

This is the face of 50+ hilly miles today in real headwinds. Ugh.
This is the scenery that makes it worthwhile.

Today I paid off all "bad" debts. All we owe money on is our house plus the Element and the student loans which are both under 3% interest. Time for bed.

Monday, September 25

Fall colors

Everyone knows about the fall colors on the trees but no one talks about the other kind of fall colors, clothing. The temperature hovers dangerously near 60 degrees and I still follow the old rule given by Bettina, our triathlon coach. "No bare knees under 60 degrees." It might sound foolish and warm for knickers or knee warmers but I don't mind as long as my knees stay healthy. So the temperature drops with the leaves and the red knee warmers make their return. That's right. You know you love them. Today at one point I was wearing no less than my white helmet, white, red and celeste (It's the Bianchi color) cycling cap, a light blue and grey base layer, an orange, yellow and blue jersey, black shorts, red knee warmers and Italian flag socks. Nothing says hot like the mismatched rainbow. 40 miles in 2 hours wasn't too shabby either. I'm really looking forward to Tour de Front Range this Saturday and my dad made his flight for Moab so he's officially coming to help crew. Yay! My dad hasn't seen me race in a long time now and I'm really excited.

In other news, Marni and I decided somehow to clean the house tonight. And I paid bills. Boo bills. Luckily for this post, while cleaning the house I had to move all my random projects off the various counters and tables they managed to spread themselves out on. I will now use this as an opportunity to show off my lightest solo camping kitchen yet at under 2 ounces. I said before I wouldn't do a beer can pot for biking (although I did make one because I found a Heineken can on the side of the road) but the sterno pot is different. While it is easily dented, the metal is a bit thicker than a soda can and can be easily pounded back into shape should it get damaged. The big plus is that it's over 3" wide which means my Esbit tab is burned even more efficiently and fits on the wing stove even better than my Ti mug. Of course the fact that it boils a cup of water for tea or dinner perfectly and is 1.5 ounces ligher than my Ti mug doesn't hurt either. All of this stuff can be found free, cheap or easily made yourself. The hardest item is the wingstove but if you don't feel like coughing up $12 you can make one yourself with plans on The titanium windscreen can also be replaced with aluminum or brass if you have a hard time finding the really thin titanium and I used household aluminum foil for the lid. The sterno can is free from any friendly catering establishment (you can probably have 50) and the long handled spoon is free with any tasty DQ ice cream treat. I stole the tiny paperclip from work but you probably have one sitting in your desk drawer and the mini bic i picked up in a 3 pack from Walgreens.
11 gram Sterno Pot
11 gram Mini Bic
13 gram BPL Ti wing stove
3.5 gram DQ long spoon
8.5 gram Titanium Windscreen and Aluminum foil lid
7 gram mesh bag
<1 gram paperclip

I think 1.5 oz total is possible without giving up my long handled spoon which is great for freezer bag cooking or the convienence and reliablity of the combined wing stove/pot suppot. The wind screen is too tall for this setup and it's still too long for any of my mugs. Cutting it down will drop a bit more weight. The wingstove could use a couple small speedholes and the cordlock on the mesh bag is way too big and unnecessary. With the windscreen up this stove boils so fast for Esbit!

Sunday, September 24

Still dropping or is it climbing?

I went for a nice ride this afternoon to round out a couple hundred miles for the week. I wanted to ride mountain bikes but no one was around and Marni is sick so I hit the road instead. The weather was fallish and the wind wasn't too terrible. I decided to cruise down to Golden and couldn't resist a flash up Lookout Mountain, what is now one of my favorite climbs in the area. The pace was hard but sustainable and while I had no one else fast to ride with there were almost endless rabbits spread out up the hill to chase down. Only one person grabbed my wheel today going up and that was a decently strong woman who held onto my 15mph pace for a bit until the road kicked up steeper and she fell back. None of the guys even made an attempt. Come on, I'm not that intimidating. The climb seemed over before it started and I set another personal record for the climb at 23:22. I'm sure I've got a much faster time in me than that but nonetheless that's the fastest I've ever had a watch on for so it's good enough. Can't feel too bad about still making progress at this point in the season.

Thursday, September 21

Couple more pictures

Bill took some cool timer shots last night. Remember your trail etiquette (yes I had to look up how to spell that).
It was getting pretty dark even by the top of Belcher, especially in the trees.
This weekend they're calling for snow, it's getting dark early and unrelentingly marching towards the time change. Boo fall. I miss my 9pm sunshine.

Wednesday, September 20

And then there were two...

This week's Wednesday ride started out with ominous looking clouds and most of the gang bailing. In the end only Bill and I showed up to White Ranch to tackle Belcher.
I managed to beat Bill there and while I waited I wasn't sure what to make of the clouds. I donned arm and knee warmers (that season again?!?) and threw my light and rain jacket in my pack.
What started out worrysome ended up wonderful. Bill and I caught most of the riders before the singletrack and blazed up the climb relatively speaking. Bill made it up in a new fast time despite waiting for me a few times and I managed a respectable ride on Cogsworth. Only about a minute off my best time at the first bench.
From the top of Belcher we descended to the parking lot, bombed Sawmill and ended up riding the 2nd half of Mustang before finishing down Belcher in the dark. It was just light enough to see without lights and with no one else on the trail we didn't have to stop on the way down. By the time we made it back to the car and got loaded up it was 8pm and Bill had to leave for his nephew's ballgame. I had to get home too because Marni had some delicious baked potato and ribs waiting. Good thing as I've been eating everything in sight with all the riding this week. I'm well past 100 miles already and it's only Wednesday.
In other news, we spent most of the weekend getting ready for and attending my brother in law Scott and Betsy's wedding. It was really beautiful. On Saturday night I hung out with my nephew Trevor at the rehersal dinner. He's getting so big!
Becky and her fiance Ryan were staying at our house and we got to hang out with them. It was really great getting to meet Ryan and see Becky again. We're excited to go to their wedding in February.
Between Becky and Ryan and the other aunts and uncles coming to see our house we had to have snacks around. Yum donuts!
Who is that cute couple?
There they are again! Marni looked really beautiful in her bridesmaid's dress. More news on her blog.
Here is a picture of the newlyweds. The wedding was beautiful and they look very happy. We wish them a long and wonderful marriage.

That's all for tonight. Bill's got some cool timer pictures of the ride that I'll upload when he sends them along. More riding tomorrow and more Moab planning.

Tuesday, September 19

24 Hours of Moab Solo

Well the bullet has been bit and the planning is underway. So far I am joining 36 other crazies in riding my bike around a 15 mile loop in Moab for 24 straight hours.

I've got a great crew shaping up and I'll give a little bio of each of them as soon as I get everyone confirmed. Marni will be crew chief, Dave and Scott will play mechanics, my dad will be there I think and the rest of the gang will keep me warm, fed and riding from noon to noon on October 14th and 15th. Scott has also graciously donated his 19.5" Fuel 90 for my backup bike so I'm not stuck with my singlespeed if there is an problem.

So much planning to do! I have to get my lights settled, choose and test my tires, figure out schedule, clothes, and which cars we are all going to drive. Not to mention race food, crew food, sleeping bags and a big crew tent (which I don't own). Plus I still have to train while I figure all this out. I've got some whopper overload rides planned to keep my legs ready. I'm really excited to do a solo 24 finally. Nick Martin described it as setting up a small tent city and then tearing it down 2 days later. I'm pretty sure he's right and that makes me the mayor of my own little crazy town.

Friday, September 15

What sound does titanium make when it bends?

I uploaded the pictures now, duh
OUCH!I've been neglecting my blog here so I'm going to make a quick post and upload the pictures later. Lots of great riding this week. Solid 50 miles on the road including an hour at TT pace on Tuesday. On Wednesday it was boy's night for the weekly ride. Bill, Scott, Dan(from CoSpgs!) and I hit up Red Rocks. Real casual pace, lots of practice on technical sections, tons of fun. No major incidents until we get back to the parking lot. First I did a wall ride/side hop thing without issue. Then I tried to hop up on a high ledge, bike came too far under me and back I went. From the looks of the scrapes I flipped backwards and landed on my back and left side. No major damage done other than a bent titanium rail on my SLR and a lot of scrapes and bruises. Unfortunately that makes sleeping in almost any position quite uncomfortable. Oh well, it's been a while since I had a "reminder" on the mountain bike. After the ride we hit up Jason's Deli which was quite delicious too. Yesterday I got in a quick lunch ride including a DQ stop for a blizzard since I was sans lunch. Definitely need to go on a grocery run here soon. Last night I rode to Boulder after work and met Marni at Murphy's for some dinner and an impromtu magic show tableside. I think Marni was unconvinced at first but the magican was pretty good and funny so we enjoyed it. It was free but I really wish I had my wallet so I could have tipped him some cash since we enjoyed it. We'll have to return another Thursday night since he said he's always there.

Tonight Marni's family all gets in town for Scott and Betsy's wedding this Sunday. Luckily I don't have to have a tux for this one. Marni's cousin Becky and her fiance are staying at our house which should be lots of fun. I'll be getting in some long rides this weekend while they attend to wedding practice stuff which will hopefully fill out my big miles week. Since today is also payday I will be biting the bullet and signing up for 24 Hours of Moab. I'm a bit nervous but all my friends are behind me and volunteering to crew and help me out so at least I have that going for me. After I sign up then comes the rush of decisions and purchases: tent, lights, tires, driving situations etc. Yikes.

Okay have to ride to work now. Pictures will be added later!

Monday, September 11

Wear white after labor day

Ever feel like you're living out of your car? I don't even drive most weekdays but I think the Element constantly looks like this anyway. I guess half of it *is* Marni's. Sunday Bill and I decided to ride Betasso in the afternoon so while I waited for him to arrive I was screwing around shooting pictures.
Also while I was waiting I decided to checkout my helmet a little more closely. A few pads were starting to become chronically unstuck. Unfortunately that's when I noticed this:
And this. Along with 5 more friends of these two cracks.
Well dammit. I guess that helmet is toast. I don't remember any big header crashes but perhaps 7,000 miles of riding and requisite visits to the ground did it in. Nonetheless Bill and I decided to ride anyway and mugged for a picture taken by another rider just finishing.
We cruised from the canyon up Sugarloaf and hit up 4 laps around Betasso. The air was warm and the skies were clear. It was the nicest day of the weekend for sure. Much nicer than during my 70 mile solo TT the day before.
From the end of our fourth lap we headed down Boulder Canyon link trail aka Pipeline.
It's been a while since I've rode it since it involves talking someone into riding up to Betasso from the canyon but it was great fun. Swoopy fast start, tight descent through trees and finally a steep rocky finish.
We still had some time to kill at the cars so we headed down to Pearl street and got some Ben and Jerry's ice cream. Yum. And of course B&J is directly across from the Montbell store which I love and Bill had never been in so we checked it out. Amazingly enough they had a Super Strech Down #7 on super clearance which I couldn't resist. It's a claimed 50 degree down bag (for $117) that weighs under a pound. Since I can pretty much sleep in just an insulated pullover at 50degrees I bet it's easily a 40 degree bag for me.
Here it is laid out next to my 15 deg Marmot Sawtooth. The Marmot's got more loft but not by a huge margin considering the Montbell is supposed to be for 35 degree warmer temperatures! I haven't had it on the scale yet, I know the horror, but I will soon. I have to cut the tags and cordlocks out first for lighter ones though. The stock ones are like boot laces! For a lightweight oriented company they sure do have some bulky cords. Bill and I also checked out some sweet 40% off snowshoes but somehow resisted purchasing any.
I got a recovery ride in today at lunch so tonight after work Marni and I headed over to Performance. I needed to replace the cracked lid so I was commited to dropping some money on a new helmet. I tried on a bunch of stuff including the Atmos but settled on a leftover 2005 Pneumo in white. What can I say it is what I'm used to and it was cheaper so I got a new cycling cap too. My Cinelli one is pretty beat.
This picture is for mom. Marni says I need new pants. Apparently 32/34 just doesn't cut it anymore. We're going to try on some 30 and 31 inch waists and report back. I can wear these pants with my 2 shirts tucked in and the belt on notch 5.
Model shot for Marni. Do I look like Lance in a cycling cap?

Thursday, September 7


Back riding on the road a lot. Another shot at Tour De Front Range coming at the end of the month. Ready to pull the trigger on 24Hours of Moab. Bachlor party last night and go karting in 2 hours. Not at work. Erik and Michelle getting married tomorrow!!!
Life is good and I'm sure that means the other shoe is about to drop but I don't care. I've got a wonderful wife and family and friends so I'll roll with the punches.

Monday, September 4

Pictures galore

Wow lots have been happening lately. Today will be mostly a pictorial with some explanations and hopefully some updating to my links and such.

As you can see in the above segment I have conveniently not mentioned how I've neglected my blog for a week and a half. I will continue this throughout the post and hope you all forgive me. I swear I'll be better, at least for a little while.

Let's work in reverse chronological order for now. Might have a new bike soon? Dave found an old Trek frame for my fixie conversion and it looks like the measurements are exactly the same as my orange Trek, sweet! Hopefully it's not too rusty and I might have a monster cross.My road bike is finally back in action. I haven't ridden anything but the singlespeed since Leadville except for KotR. Tonight after Marni and I's trip to Boulder I finished installing my new Dura Ace shifters and put on my new bar tape. White hot!
Seriously I just look at it and it thinks about getting dirty but they were out of pink and black was boring. I like it! Plus it's really sweet having STIs that actually work again and I forgot how fast road bikes are with gears and skinny tires. My 2.25 tires on the Monocog don't roll so well on the road.Gears, blasphemy I know. Don't worry, today Marni and I went to ride Betasso and the SS made the trip. Marni kicked lots of butt. Today she was much faster on the downhills than ever before even with the holiday hiker traffic. I took her to Betasso for her first real MTB ride shortly after we met. It didn't go so well but now at least she agrees it's a fun and easy trail. After Marni and I were done I took a flyer lap around. Came in a little under 17 minutes which isn't bad considering all the hikers I stopped for and the lack of rain. Betasso is way faster wet. Hmm maybe my legs are ready for some big miles now to prepare for Moab? They certainly feel good with just lots of SS riding lately.
This weekend prior to the holiday I was mostly out riding. Marni hosted a bacholorette party for our friend Michelle and therefore I was banished from the house. Not really a problem as I was happy to go bikepacking again (more on that later). Dave and I met up Saturday evening around 5pm.
Turbo was not too happy to see me leave. Sorry pup.
I was wearing my new Smartwool lightweight zip-t. Got it for $30 on Steep and Cheap. If you don't know what S&C is you have to check it out. They have a new deal (50-80% off) everyday until they sell out. The Smartwool shirts are usually $80 so I figured it was cheap enough to try out. The weather was a lot colder than on the Colorado Trail (keep reading) so I really liked the long sleeves and the wool was comfortable. I'm going to reserve my final opinion until I wear it again post wash but so far so good. After David and I met up we cruised out 72 towards Golden Gate Canyon state park. I saw some deer chase away a coyote which was pretty cool. The climbs up to the park were hard but all rideable for me. David did good pushing his 59" gear while I happily spun away in ~47 inches. The camping sites at the park were all full so after running out of places to stay we hid up above the road and found a nice place to bivy for the night. When we left you couldn't have known we were there so despite it not being technically allowed I don't feel too bad about it. Plus Dave had a sweet cave/rock shelter that I called the mountain lion den.This week I brought my sleeping bag along on the ride. While it's not really the lightest, it's all I've got for now and I strapped it to my handlebars with some sweet bungie cords. Dave brought his thermometer this time and it got down to 31 degrees. Burr! I was glad to have my 15deg down bag and I was nice and warm without wearing all my clothes or holeing up in my bivy. I even woke up at 2:30am ready to ride but I went back to bed until 5:30. I tried a new method of heating up my water for dinner and tea using half an esbit but I didn't like it. It seems better to burn the whole thing at once and then just blow it out after it boils to reuse next time.After we woke up on Sunday we were back riding by quarter to 7am. We cruised through Rollinsville and up to Ned for some coffee. It was warm by then and we made great time down Magnolia back to Boulder canyon. After stopping into Full Cycle for a minute we headed back to Westy via Marshall Mesa and I even cleared the stupid log steps on the SS for once. All in all I rode about 85 miles by the time we got home and Marni had some yummy donuts waiting. That evening Marni and I went to see Little Miss Sunshine which was hillarious. Finally a movie worth my $9.50.
Wednesday we had a sweet ride at Centennial Cone, a new JeffCo trail. It's a little further away so we tried to make good time down from Westminster to Golden. Along the way up 6 we saw Dave riding to meet us so I made a quick manuever to the side of the road to pick him up. That was Marni's favorite. haha. We got Dave loaded and made it up to the trail in plenty of time.Scott showing off his sweet sunglasses holder.We had a big group this week, everyone's names I can't quite remember. Luckily everyone kicked ass, especially Melissa who is Scott's new babe. She and Marni had a lot of fun riding together.With the sun setting earlier now we ran into a little trouble. It seems the sun sets at around 8pm instead of the 9pm we've been used to all summer. Made for a pretty sunset...
Too bad we were still 4 miles from the car. Dave had a light and Bill had his map and GPS so it wasn't too big a deal. Marni and Melissa survived along with the rest of us downhilling in the dark.
Plus Flounder was there to make his return to my bike after getting washed away.
After mostly riding and a little walking we saw the light from one of our cars. One of the riders went ahead and hit the headlights so we'd know we were almost home.That was a really good idea except his battery was weak. OOOOoops. We all had good cars to jump him with, but no jumper cable. Scott jumped in the Honda and got one from a gas station down the road and without waiting too long we were back in business. Plus we got to sit around in the camping chairs and I got to wear my new vest that showed up. Patagonia Micropuff vest was 5.82oz in a size small. Now to sew a hood one it, muahaha. Back to the story. After getting the Exploder jumped we still had time to hit up Woody's for dinner and then everyone took off for home. This week there will be no Wednesday ride due to Erik's bachlor party which will be strange. We haven't missed one hardly all summer.

Wow lots written, almost done and back to where I left the last blog, my trip on the Colorado Trail. Dave and I had an awesome time and I stole his pictures except for the ones of my stove. Getting tired now so I'll make this quick. We left Waterton around 5 pm and rode segment 1 of the Colorado trail. Just past the South Platte on segment 2 we made camp for the night. Got down to high 40s so my sleeping bagless setup was a little chilly but I still slept okay. My stove worked real good for my dinner and breakfast tea so I was happy about that. I found a way to make it even lighter this past week. Once we ate breakfast we tackled the big climb starting segment 2. On a singlespeed I had to walk a few things but overall it was totally rideable for the first 2 segments of the CT. I can't wait to ride more of it because it was so fun. The ride through the burn area of segment 2 were surreal especially in the constant rain and fog. After segment 2 we had to bail since I had to be home by the early afternoon. We rode out to 285 and then back to Morrison via S. Turkey Creek with a short stop at tiny town. What a weird place. Dave and I got into Morrison and Marni picked me up so I could get ready for her friend's party. Overall it was an awesome ride despite the frequent rain and cold. My sub 5lbs base weight was awesome and while I will still be making changes and tweeking my setup before next summer I'm confident I can survive with under 5 lbs of gear including safety items.

Okay time for bed. I leave you with a link to Bill's new blog. Check it out. More bikepacking and adventures in white bar tape to come. Really!