Tuesday, October 31

Monday Night Gear Review

Possumwool Knit Hat
This hat is my favorite cold weather hat. I can wear it under my helmet or on it's own. It stays warm when wet and is nice and light. Plus it's knitted by Mom!

Smartwool Zip-T
These are great. I've got two now thanks to SAC.com. The lightweight wool is good for all but the warmest weather. I have not tried Smartwool's microweight yet. I find them very slightly itchy if I'm sitting around thinking about it but not when I'm active. They are durable so far and show no real signs of wear. With a couple pockets in the back these could replace my bike jerseys.

Smartwool crew bottoms
These are a new score from Veloswap. Marni stole the men's small I have the men's medium. So warm and comfortable. They are also the same lightweight wool as the zip-t's. It would have to be pretty cold to wear them when riding but around the house or fall/winter hiking they are very nice.

Marmot Driclime Windshirt
I got one of these a couple weeks ago when my red long sleeve jersey began to lose it's zipper. I've been wearing it everyday on my commute. With only my work shirt underneath, work pants and my hat/headband combo I'm plenty warm riding to work down to freezing so far in just this. It's got a nylon outer face with a DWR finish. The DWR is good but not as good as the patagonia stuff. The inside is meant to replace a base layer and is comfortable again the skin. Plus it has handwarmer pockets which are so nice. Total weight is 13 ounces for a men's medium and there is room to layer underneath.

REI Flash UL Pack
These things rule. For $25 (or less on sale) you get a pack that's bigger and lighter than every Camelback out there. They're my essential supported race pack. I've crashed in one of them and it didn't shred to bits although it does have some tiny holes. They're not waterproof but very water resistant.

DQ Spoon
Free with any tasty DQ treat. Weighs 3.5 grams and has a nice long handle for freezer bag meals when camping. My staple camping utensil.

Smartwool Spectrum Hoody
Marni and I fight over this one. Lightweight Smartwool wool hoody, thumbholes, zip collar. It's the woman's version (medium) that we scored for $30 but it fits us both. So comfortable and warm with the hood. No I'm not gay Scott :p

Patagonia Micropuff Pullover
These pullovers have been our cold weather staple to this point. From standing around in the rain in Moab to camping with no sleeping bag, this pullover has never failed to keep me warm. Less than 11 ounces and packs down smaller than a naglene bottle. They can tolerate getting wet and still keep us warm plus they have a great DWR coating and the fabric rarely wets out.

Golite Vapor Barrier Booties
I've only got to wear these once so far. They were a present from Dave that he picked up on clearance from OWE in Denver. Thanks! These are made from silnylon and keep your feet warm and reasonably dry in really cold weather. You wear them sandwiched between your insulation and a liner sock. This keeps your insulation sock dry and doesn't let your foot lose heat due to sweating. For winter riding they are going to totally rule.

Pacific Outdoor Equipment ├╝ber-lite
An 8 ounce inflateable sleeping pad? Yes there is such a thing! I got one of these used from the backpacking light forum although you couldn't tell it was used. This pad really does weigh 8 ounces due to it's 17x37x1" size. It's small but it's still bigger than my standard 2.29 oz blue foam pad. It feels quite luxurious to me compared to the closed cell foam and I think I'll bring it on the next few trips to give it a proper test. It supposedly has a higher R value than my blue foam too but it's strength will have to be comfort as the blue foam is lighter insulation than anything else for the weight if you double or triple it up.

Marmot Ion Windshirt
3.35 ounce hooded fullzip windshirt. They're on sale all over the place if the remaining sizes will fit you. I've never been so protected from the wind or rain by something so light. It eventually will wet out but it takes 10x longer than my blue Pearl Izumi windjacket. In nice weather it's the only rain jacket I need and in bad weather or colder conditions it's an ultralight extra layer. The Pertex Quantum fabric breathes really well but it's not magic. In warm or hot conditions I can still build up condensation inside if I'm working hard even with it fully unzipped.

Patagonia Vest
Just like the Patagonia pullover except in vest form. Weighs less than 6 ounces and can be found for under $50 when on sale. For such a small and light item it always finds it's way into my pack. Just enough insulation to wear when starting to ride on those bitter cold mornings without instantly overheating. Also warm enough to add additional range to summer sleeping bags, dramatically so when combined with the pullover.

The North Face DIAD Jacket
Waterproof and breathable for only 6.1 ounces? It's true. This jacket passed the shower test and has pit zips to boot. It's lighter than both the Patagonia Spector and Marmot Essence without sacrificing a full zipper, pit zips or a stiffened real hood. Mine has minor modifications to lose 1 ounce (cordlocks and elastic made smaller). Can it replace my hooded windshirt? I'm not sure but I'll do some testing and find out. It's going to be a great lightweight snowshoing and snowbiking hardshell plus a summer rainy weather necessity. Now I need to find good lightweight WP/B pants to match. Mine is a Men's medium as the small is definitely not long enough. There is plenty of room to layer an insulating jacket underneath.

Monday, October 30

Guardian Angels

Sorry Dave. Stole your title because it got me thinking...

This was supposed to be the gear review but it's not. That is coming but probably not until tonight for 2 reasons. One - I wanted to give initial reviews of all my new crap and two, I wanted to give some long term reviews of previous gear. That ended up being more time intensive than I first planned. Oh and DaveH went down hard. That makes three reasons. Shut up, I know I said two. I lied.

While at the pretty sweet sounding 50/50 race in Grand Junction, DaveH went down at about 25mph on a rocky descent. He ended up breaking his collarbone in about 6 places among other injuries. He's going to be okay thankfully but it's a good reminder to us all. This sport is dangerous and sometimes you are really "out there" when you stack. We've all had those almost crash moments where your heart is through your chest and we've all had those big crashes that we were lucky to walk away from with only a few new scratches on man and machine. Do you carry a first aid kit with you when you're out solo or with a few friends? Do you know what first aid to perform on a fellow rider or when the best course of action is a hospital NOW? I've been with more than a couple friends who crashed hard over the years and have done so myself as well. The more out there I get in these endurance events the more discriminating look I've been taking at everything from my first aid kit to my downhilling risks.

So go ride and keep focused on the task at hand but when you're taking some time off or when the weather makes you choose the trainer, spend some time thinking about the "what if's" and how you will be prepared to handle them. Your loved ones will thank you. Didn't mean to come off preachy, just got me thinking about how to stay safer out there. Heal up soon Dave. Next season will be waiting when you're better.

Saturday, October 28

Gear Whore

I like outdoor gear like Turbo likes some Blizzard. But someone else got a new toy today at VeloSwap that's much cooler than anything I've got recently. I'll let her tell you all about it tomorrow. I have a few new little toys to review tomorrow as well including a 6.1 ounce waterproof/breathable jacket, 8oz inflatable sleeping pad, wool hoody and bottoms, and a lined cool weather windshirt. Got out with the wifey for a short ride today. Felt real good and can't wait to get through my time off the bike. 2007 schedule planning is underway and a few events have made it into the lineup with dates so far. Check the right margin for info. Hope Dave did well at the 50/50 today. Can't wait to here details. Out for tonight!

Thursday, October 26

2006 Race Schedule

Not much of a point to the post, just a season recap for tracking purposes.

12th Place (Series Overall) - Cherry Creek Time Trials Cat 4
5th Place and several other top 10s (Individual Races) - Cherry Creek Time Trials Cat 4
3rd Place - E12 Hour Solo Singlespeed
2nd Place (Series Overall) - Winter Park XC MTB Series Expert 19-24
3rd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 5th (Individual Races) - Winter Park MTB Series Expert 19-24
17th 20-29 and 160th Overall - Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race (804 starters)
16th 24 Hours of Moab Solo Male (5 laps/75 miles/canceled at 8pm)

April 12, 2006 Cherry Creek Time Trial #1
April 15, 2006 Boulder Larimer Road Race
April 19, 2006 Cherry Creek Time Trial #2
April 23, 2006 Boulder Beer Road Race
April 26, 2006 Cherry Creek Time Trial #3
April 29, 2006 Deer Trail Road Race
May 3, 2006 Cherry Creek Time Trial #4
May 10, 2006 Cherry Creek Time Trial #5
May 17, 2006 Cherry Creek Time Trial #6
May 24, 2006 Cherry Creek Time Trial #7
June 17, 2006 WP#1 - Hill Climb Kick Off
June 18, 2006 WP#2 - Mountain Circuit One
June 24, 2006 Endurance 100 12 Hour (Single Speed)
July 4, 2006 Firecracker 50 (Single Speed)
July 8, 2006 WP#3 - Cross Country Super Loop
July 22, 2006 WP#4 - Valley Point to Point
August 5, 2006 WP#5 - Mountain Circuit Two
August 12, 2006 Leadville 100
August 19, 2006 WP#6 - King of the Rockies
October 15, 2006 24 Hours of Moab Solo

Wednesday, October 25

What's Important

Here it is, in all my rested glory, my thoughts on the 24 Hours of Moab. Well that is after clicking on "Sorry Blogger is down for maintenance" for the past hour waiting for it to come back up.

I've hemmed and hawwed over what to write but the backlog of other stuff I want to blog about is growing and I must get this one out of me. The story of the race isn't far from the account of the other racers. Marni has already written up a nice account and posted some great pictures. Dave has also posted a bunch of great pictures. Therefore I've got a little bit differnt format in mind for this one.
Marni you are amazing. You got me through the week before the race and got all the bags packed so I didn't have to worry. Of course I still did and you took care of me anyway. What we learned together about racing this summer came in handy and I can't thank you enough. If it wasn't for the rain I'd almost have nothing to write about because you made everything go so smoothly. You raked our campsite on Friday so I wouldn't wear myself out. You made sure I had sunscreen on so I wouldn't burn. You kept our clothes and sleeping gear dry in hours of rain and a leaking tent. You learned to play hearts in your sleeping bag and didn't complain about our woeful lack of dry places to sit. You understood my disappointment when the rain stopped the race and you were disappointed too even though you worried about me out there in the dark in terrible conditions. You saw how strong I was and knew I was doing well and you even volunteered to come back for revenge before I brought it up. Plus when we got home you unpacked and washed EVERYTHING that was covered in muddy sand. I have an unfair advantage in supported races with you by my side. You know what I need and how to get it to me, sometimes before I do. Thank you for standing by my side at the race and always.
Dad thank you for flying out for the race. It was so great to see you and it's been far too long. I'll try to do better on racing closer to you. Despite it all being a new experience you were great the whole time. I loved racing in front of you just like the old days at all the triathlons. I loved talking with you in the car which you gladly rode in for 6 hours each way just to stand in the rain. You never failed to make sure I was fed and treated all my friends to some delicious meals. You stood at the bike wash in the dark after the race was canceled just to make sure the bike would be ready to go if they restarted it. You stood around with me in the morning listening to the chaos of the meeting and before the LeMans start with your umbrella. You even helped Marni wash all the sand off the car and bikes and clothes and bags and coolers and everything else that made the trip. All the 24 hour races can't be like this so I hope you can make it to another one.
Dave you did so much to help me get through this race. Before it even started you rounded up all the lights and batteries you could so that we'd easily have enough. At a race like this where an HID headlamp and 20w bar mount are still not enough sometimes, that means a lot. Thanks for preriding the course with me on Fuel#2. I know that the long toptube and gears made it pretty interesting but you never complained. Thanks for teaching us hearts while we holed up in the tent mountaineering style. Every lap you cleaned my destroyed bike and fixed it so I could destroy it again and repeat the process. You found the chainsuck problem and kept my driveline 90% useable in a conditions that shut most bikes down to only a single gear. Thanks for the sandwich after the race and the ramen after the 15 miles of flash flooding. You probably still have sand in your tent and hopefully your sleeping bag is dry by now. Our luck with rainy adventures has got to run out soon right? Every trip we go on can't be in the rain forever can it?
Thanks more than I can express to Scott. You handed over your Fuel so I could have a spare bike and you never knew what you were getting into. Sorry again for trashing the shit out of your bike. I know you told me it's okay but I promise I'll fix anything I broke. Plus you bought me a sweet carbon rockerlink for my Fuel. You helped Dave keep the bikes working every lap. You didn't complain about not finding our campsite on Friday night despite driving by it probably 5 times and parking in front of it. You drove all the way to Moab and back on a short timeline just to help out and almost hit a Mini Cooper sized boulder washed onto the road for your troubles! You even helped me tape up my shoes right before the start for my ingenious "muddy run, clean shoe strategy." Thanks again for making the trip out and hopefully next time the weather will be less biblical.
Melissa, thank you for coming to help and sorry I have such lame pictures of you! You probably didn't realize when you met Scott that some of his friends are insane and now you're willing to join the insanity. I'm sure Marni loved having another woman there so as not to be surrounded by all boys the whole weekend. Thanks for everything you did crewing and coming all the way to Moab just for the race. I hope next time we're all out there we can show you some of the great trails and beautiful Moab without the flooding.
Thanks to Lynda for letting me pace off her on the chaos of lap 1 and showing me some of Dave's secret lines! You kicked ass judging by the fact that you rode away from me on lap 2 and went on to win the women's race. Wish I could afford your coaching services because you've had it dialed this year. Amazing! Thanks to Dave too for yelling for me out there even though you couldn't tell who I was, just another solo on the flood lap. Sorry Adam that I couldn't tell it was you on your 4 hour walking lap due to multiple mechanicals.

Thanks to Moab for the amazing scenery, wet and dry. I've been there more than half a dozen times now and it never fails to beckon me to return. The stark contrast of the desert red against the snowy La Sal's is one of my favorite scenes in all of nature.

Thanks to my mom for the million phone messages checking on us after the storm broke and to Jessie for helping her watch the race on the realtime scoring thing plus figuring out that all the racers had stopped. Thanks to Marni's mom who had nightmares wondering if I was alright. You are all awesome. It feels good to be so loved and I'll try to limit the number of nightmare inducing activities. Thanks to Michelle for getting the awesome hoodies done in time despite a late request. Thanks to Bill and Becky for their e-support. Thanks to Jim B and the Feedback guys for the support and the tarps, Steven, Rose and company for the cheering plus Stephan G and friends too.

Thanks to Nick Martin and the other pros who shot the shit with me. It is still very fun for this amatuer to talk with the guys who dominate this sport. Also thanks to all the other solos out there on course and in the pits. Everyone was awesome to talk to and it was great to finally put a few names to faces from race results and blogs. Thanks to Larry at Mountain High Cyclerly for the overnight parts "from Japan" okay really just from BPI but I needed them nonetheless and you got them here on time.

I'm sure there are stories and events from the weekend I've forgotten. To experience the craziness of something like trying to drive out of the race site on the 4wd road with some awesome mud is something I can't even put into words. You're just going to have to come to one of the races yourself for all the little memories.

Well I'm about to wrap this one up. If I've forgotten anyone I'm really sorry. This race showed me just how much my family and friends care about me and the riding was really secondary at this point. I finished 16th despite not getting to execute my race and ride for all 24 hours. That was a 5 laps or 75 miles in 8 hours and 42 minutes, almost a short ride for this season. I felt amazing and despite the weather I was just feeling warmed up and ready for night when the race ended. There will be more races next year. For now I'll leave you with some action shots and shots of the carnage. If you've gotten this far you must actually like me so you might want to see them. :)

While I am on a short offseason, the blogging will continue from here on out. Don't worry though, I'll be back on the bike very soon. 2006 was a great season and 2007 will be even better. The fires are still burning hot...

Thursday, October 19

What to say?

It's been a week since my last post and 4 days since I got home from Moab. I have some pictures. There is a story but it hasn't come out yet. I am happy and disappointed all at once.

Marni found her voice though and made a great new blog tonight. Go read it.

Thursday, October 12

Desert Dreams

Dad is here. David is here. E is packed and I'm ready. Hoodies are here. We're off to pickup Marni from work and drive out to Moab for the weekend and the race. We've got internet in the hotel tonight and Sunday so I might get an update in. Otherwise I will update everyone when I get back. I'm so excited and ready to race. 2006, what a season and it's not over until noon on Sunday!