Friday, June 29


The picture and following text is directly from Mike Curiak. Do you think you have your setup dialed? How much stuff do you really need?

That pic was taken the day before I left for the start. A few things changed that night before leaving, but they were pretty minor *and* they were additions, not subtractions.And I know it's hard to believe, but on the bike or in the pack in that photo are:

-gore rain jacket and pants
-arm and knee warmers
-warm gloves and rain gloves
-extra shorts and shirt
-2 days worth of food
-water filter
-ability to carry ~320oz of water easily and comfortably
-3 lights (2 bar, 1 head) and at least 2 nights worth of batts
-digi camera, 2 days worth of batts, and a spare memory card
-cash money, credit card, calling card, ID
-drugs (pain reliever, anti-inflam, antibiotic), basic first aid kit, chamois creme
-multi tool, leatherman, tire lever, 2 tubes, full size pump, couple feet of duct tape, real patch kit, spare bolt kit, spare links of chain, spare brake pads, spare shift cables, spare cleats and bolts, chain lube and rag, sewing kit, spare spokes and nips
-clear lens for night riding, orange lens for contrast
-sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and bivy sack
-cyclometer and all ACA maps and cue sheets
and a few critical things that I'm intentionally leaving out...
How to get it so compact and light? The devil is in the details.
Happy planning.

Take a look at that list for a minute. Now look at the pack and the bags on the bike. I feel like my setup is getting pretty good but damn.

Thursday, June 28


Mama duck and babies
Some of those crappy Cone flowers.
More flowers and a little of that view.
Go Marni!
Bill riding the one technical section on the Cone with Melissa watching.
Who's that guy?
Man that is a sweet girafe.
Okay now we know Marni must have been taking the pictures.
Bill climbing below.
Nice valley.
Up the rocks!


First I want to give a quick plug for Mr.Dave Nice. You kicked butt attempting the GDR on the fixie and we can't wait until you're back to hear all the stories. Great job man, we're all so proud of you. Talk to you soon. Okay onto the rest of the blog...

Marni has been determined to get faster lately so we've been trying to ride together in places where I can give her tips and help her improve her skills as well as push up her endurance limit. One of the best times is my lunch ride at Colorado Hills. So yesterday we headed out for a nice hour ride and got to work on some technique stuff and enjoy a break from work for a bit. We put in a nice 10 miles of mixed road, paths and some real off roading and were already seeing some new stuff put into action.

After work we headed down to Centennial Cone for the group ride with the gang. In the Element on the way down an entire loaf of banana bread disappeared but I think Marni might have been the culprit. This time were prepared with lights after our first time finishing the trail with just Mr.Nice's light (all 6 of us) but it proved unnecessary. Everyone was moving quickly and we had a great group with Scott, Melissa, Mike, Jeanie, Bill, James, Truesdale, Tyler (welcome!), Marni and I in attendance. Bill and I rode up Mayhem Gulch for that extra couple miles and 800 feet of climbing and met everyone else in the upper parking lot. I stole all these great pictures from Mike and there are a few more pictures as well. I think I have a couple too but I didn't get to download the camera yet. The weather was cool and humid, odd for Colorado summer but enjoyable. The flowers were still everywhere and the views still sucked (you hear that MTBR?). Hehe. Here is Marni climbing up the hill leading a train.

Bridge wheelie!
Bill and Marni with aero Bunny. James coming up behind now unipedalling it. His cleat pulled out of his shoe!
The gang happy with only a short downhill to go and ahead of the setting sun.
Yep still not pretty.
Not here either. So Marni has another "2 a day" in the books and she's riding really strong. Her downhilling is quite improved from a year ago and she's starting to roll right down technical elements with no hesitiation and some good speed. It's almost like she's a different rider. Funny how training more will do that. I am feeling better as well. I'm sore and tired today but in a good way finally. The kind of way that lets me know I'm riding everyday and getting in some good efforts. Today will be an easier day but I'm hungry for more again. Should be a fun upcoming week with a big ride planned with Ramin on Saturday morning and joining Erik and company for the Mt. Evan's assault on the 4th. Then just 3 days later is the next WP race. I wonder if Marni is going to sign up? Maybe by then I'll be closer to making the next big decision.

Wednesday, June 27

Bike to Work Day

Today is Bike to Work day here in Denver. Lots of good information here. I rode to work as usual today although I was tempted to go find my free breakfast. Alas I decided I'd rather read about the GDR than find free food. I did see a larger number of riders out commuting this morning and my company is participating which is great. I'm lucky to work at a company that is at least supportive of cyclists and we have access to showers and lockers. A number of people do bike commute at least a couple days a week although it could always be better at such a large company. I suppose my only requests would be a better place to store our bikes indoors instead of everyone fending for themselves and in a perfect world the company going the extra mile to encourage more people to ride everyday.

Hope you bloggers out there were lucky enough to bike commute this morning and if not, maybe tomorrow? Summer certainly is the easiest time of year to start.

Tuesday, June 26

Lappin the Cone

Marni had dinner and movie night with the girls so I did some riding with some teammates at Centennial Cone. Okay maybe dinner and a movie was because I was riding? Either way the team ride was the Cone so I convinced the Feedback boys to start from the lower Mayhem Gulch trailhead. After browsing bikes I cannot afford at Big Ring we drove up the canyon and parked at the new trailhead. I had two bottle of Perp and a plan to do a fast 3 hours of riding. I even had my night time helmet setup just in case I ended up finishing a lap after dark. Luckily mother nature was cooperating and some rain had come through earlier in the afternoon. This meant no rain now, perfect trail condition and almost no one else on the trail. Kyle led up the Mayhem Gulch climb and I took over on the short downhill that followed. Scott climbed back to me before long and we motored along trying not to crash off the trail obscured by tall grass and flowers. This really has been an amazing spring and summer. I can't remember the last time I saw this many flowers and this much green. Or maybe this year my eyes are just open?

We goofed around waiting for the rest of the train and Scott took a nature break.
Kyle followed shortly. Such crappy scenery huh? Haha.
Doug, Rob and Nick along with the singlespeeder who I appologize for forgetting his name.
I was in a good mood getting to rail the downhills where you could see ahead and with Scott pushing me up the climbs we made good time to the rock stairs. I of course screwed them up and had to take another shot.
Everyone was having a good time though and we were moving quickly.
Ahhh more flowers in almost every color. Note to MTBR. This trail sucks. Stay away. I'll suffer and keep riding it to see if it gets any better and report back. You guys ride the other trails until I let you know.
Scott made me pin it pretty good to the trail's highpoint up the fireroad and before I knew it we were back at the Mayhem Gulch intersection. I wished everyone else farewell and took off for another lap. It was just after 8pm so I wanted to move quickly to bang another lap out before dark settled in too heavily.
I did have to stop for a couple more pictures though. The sunset was really pretty and the trail was amazing (I mean sucky MTBR) in the low light. Flowers and green meadows and a trail all to myself.
The last lap was pretty uneventful except for my crash. I was easing up on the pace a bit downhill which led to a lapse in concentration. Hello pedal, meet rock. I got tossed into the grass instantly. Luckily bike and body were fine. Ego was a little bruised. I dusted myself off and finished the lap, finally lighting the PT EOS for the last 20 minutes. The clouds made it just dark enough to shrink my 9:15pm daylight window. I rolled along the final downhill a bit slower, enjoying the night and making sure I didn't crash again all by my lonesome. Perpetuem in the bottles kept me feeling good all night and I felt just as great as Monday. I'm hoping this is my body starting to turn the corner again.
I arrived back at the trailhead with the toaster the only car in the parking lot. Before I knew it I was pulling into the driveway, shoveling down some leftovers and catching up on the GDR before bed. Not to worry though. Tomorrow the gang is going back to the Cone again. Don't worry, it's just to make sure the trail still isn't fun...

Monday, June 25

Short and Fast

Got out for a quick one tonight. Just me and the birds. I was hoping for hot but the clouds and threatening skies only made it warm. Pave, gravel, doubletrack and even some secret singletrack.
I don't think Mr.Giant Bird sees too many guys like me and I don't see many like him so I stopped for my one photo break. The singletrack was too fun to stop on. This stuff was easy to follow compared to most of it. Either it was so faint you could pretend you were on the Paradox playing GLR racer or so overgrown you had to keep watching for every turn as the trail disappeared 3 feet in front of you into vegetation.
The team kit was dirty from the day before so I sported the argyle instead. Maybe Mr.Eagle appreciated it watching me from his high perch. All and all I was surprised. One bottle of Perpetuem and some pep in the legs netted me 22 miles in 90 minutes. It's the first time in a while my legs have felt half decent. I came home to dinner prepared and put my feet up the rest of the night. Maybe eventually I'll feel like I want to again. Looks like more fun tomorrow on the MTB with the teammates. Gears or SS...tough decisions.

Big Day

The weekend went although it wasn't smooth. By Saturday night things were alright though so plans were hatched and the alarm was set for predawn. I woke up late anyway and was rolling out the door at sunrise for part one of the day.
The first hour of riding is small rollers and a moderate headwind that would dog me all day. The weather man predicted a tailwind in the afternoon for my desired path but I would be long gone by them.
I hit Lookout while most people were still sleeping but I had the company of a few riders on the mountain. The sun was rising fast though and Golden was waking up below me.
I was accompanied by Mr.Snake as well and I stopped to document his presence as well as strip off the knee warmers and down some Endurolytes. It was going to be hot so I might as well get a jump on keeping everything all together.
From here I began climbing, really only pausing to figure out the correct direction. I'd never ridden this path although it had been on "the list" for a while. On a few wrong turns here and there but mostly I climbed. There were two nice descents though and each was freshly paved making them pass all to quickly and making way for the climbing to resume.
I almost brought my SteriPen and less water. I should have. It was everywhere in splashes and roars.
Finally I left the shadow of the big highway and headed towards the pass. Along the way I snapped this picture of our occasional post race eatery. Delicious and capable of producing heart attacks. Yum. The wheels kept rolling and the pedals kept turning over. It was well into the morning now and I knew I'd soon be caught. Between the late start and a bit of an underestimation on my part I knew I wouldn't make it all the way to Winter Park in time for part two of the day. Luckily Marni would come right by me and pick me up to speed things along.
And that she did. After 4 hours and 20 minutes I hopped in the Element and took a short nap on our way over the rest of the pass and to our predetermined meeting spot. Bill and Jason were already there and the rest of the gang filtered in bit by bit until everyone was ready.
We set off to preride the third course of the Winter Park XC series, a 14.4 mile loop with more climbing than we anticipated. After some last minute McGyver work on Melissa's bike that included me stealing the bolt out of Marni's headset we rolled out. Bill came to the rescue with another bolt while the group hit the bathrooms and up the ski road we climbed. Missing an unmarked trail several hundred vertical feet below us we got in some extra credit climbing before finally ending up on the right route. Up and down we rode on some really fun trails but all and all it was generally up.
The group at one of many regrouping spots. There were lots of other people out enjoying the day and I even ran into an old friend from the CU Triathlon team.
We were also joined by one of Bill's Clyde competitors Jason who rode really strong all day while being a good sport about all of us marvelling at how freaking tall he is (6'8").
After descending some singletrack that pretty much resembled a skating rink covered in boulders (but in a good way, ha!) the group popped out at the big creek crossing on the course. Most Winter Park water crossings are rideable in go for it style but this one is pretty high.
Everyone walked even though I tried to ride it and failed miserably, happy not to end up totally submerged. Unless the level drops quite a bit since there is a deep spot in the middle this will be one to run during the race. The cold water felt really good though and I had no problem hanging out in the creek while helping the ladies across.
We climbed, walked and climbed some more before finally finishing the climbing on some really nice singletrack. Marni was all smiles when we finally topped out over 10k feet and would get to point the bikes downward for most of the rest of the ride.
John had joined us for the second ride in a row and looked happy to be at the top as well.
The clouds loomed but we never got rained on. In the distance I spied something more interesting, the porta potty. Hey I'd been out riding since dawn and some things are just more pleasant not taken care of trailside.
The group took off ahead and I chased behind a few minutes later. We dropped 1000 feet before you knew it and were riding the last bit of singletrack before the course finish. It was a bit dicey due to a big blowdown not yet removed(?) but Marni and I made it and found the group just in time to checkout this sweet train. Awe man. I was going to before you told me I couldn't...
Melissa and Marni cruised in while the boys pretended to sprint it out at the finish. Interesting finish it was as none of us decided before taking off where exactly we were sprinting too.
Back at the car we had plenty of dirt to show for a good day of riding. Pizza and pasta on the way home after avoiding the traffic backup with my new found knowledge of the frontage roads.

74 miles and 8300 vertical feet for me. The pace was steady, never feeling very fast or very strong but the GPS never reading a snail's pace at least. It was good to get a long ride in again with lots of climbing since it's still the area I need to work on most. Compared to the past I'm a much better climber but compared to the elite I still struggle on the long climbs. Many days I can't find my rythem. My ribs still bother me a lot on the road bike and I'm not sure why the MTB's feel better but the nagging pain all day gets a bit frustrating. At least the Perpetuem experiment was positive. It will take a little getting used to but even warm and concentrated it went down fine with no distress. Marni however isn't going to start using it anytime soon. She's not a big fan of soy in general and warm Perp almost made her Nectar bars come back up. The mileage has been ramping up the past 3 weeks so I'm hoping my body will follow along. Haven't made any decisions about the rest of 2007 yet and all the chips are still on the table. We'll see if I can draw any more good cards before I decide how to play the hand.