Friday, January 30


Got out for a good ride this AM on the new bike after our Starbucks date. Surprisingly the dog park was mostly snow free and not too muddy so I did laps for a couple hours and took it up and down a couple other hills around my house. No pictures but I'll post some more when I get outside on nicer trails. The Mountain King impressed today, it's not a 2.4 (or a 2.2 really) but it does bite really well in the corners which is what I want out of an all purpose front tire. No major downsides noticed yet but it does take a little more english on the bars to change directions on fast singletrack turns. Still going through the annoying new bike tweaks like brake and bar positioning but so far I'm really happy. More to come...

This afternoon I spent some more time studying for my Praxis II test. This time I missed 3 questions with only 1 that I was clueless on and I timed 20 questions in about 55 minutes. Still need to get faster and work on those triangle rules but I'm getting better.

January is over tomorrow and I'm dangerously close to breaking my mileage record. Baring any major catastrophe I think I'll take down the January 2007 record of 1007 miles.

Thursday, January 29

New Bike Porn

The Vassago lives! After an initial build to get a few dimensions, subsequent ordering of more parts and then patiently waiting for Mr.Brown Truck to show up, the Jabberwocky is finally ready to ride for real. I'm not sure if it's quite done yet but it needs some pedal strokes of anger before I can know any more.

Big thanks to Marni and Mr.Nice for the frame, Brady for help with the wheel build and sweet parts I would not have been otherwise able to afford and Dad for the seat, pedals and crankset.

First impressions? It feels light at under 22lbs and there are still plenty of places to trim if I really wanted to spend the money to go sub 20lbs. For a frame that weighs almost 5.5lbs in a size 20" and fork that's not really *that* light by weight weenie standards, it's a pretty good start.

-The brakes are really nice and purdy, I hope they work well as I've been on Hayes for the past few years with zero issues.
-The ESI grips seem interesting, we'll see if they can displace the Titec Pork Rinds I've been using.
-The Thomson Masterpiece is just as nice as my last one and the saddle is the old standby SLR. Salsa bar is the same as the Monocog has and I've got Syntace F99 stems in 90mm and 105mm to try out. I've been using the F99 stem for a few years now and they have held up fine.
-Wheelset is 1650g, Notubes 355's on WTB Laser Disc Lites, set up with yellow tape and will be tubeless once I try out some tires first.
-The fork is the On One Superlight Carbon, should be interesting. Rotor clearance is tight but works fine so far. Weight is 910g with currently some extra steerer tube.
-Headset is a King, cog is a Surly for now, chainring a Salsa, spacers PVC and the chaintug is a Redline cheapo. I tried the built in screws yesterday a bit and let's just say I'm not using them since one is already bent.
-Skewers are Bonti's from the parts bin. Anyone have any recommendations for lightish but nice and strong clamping skewers? XTR? other? No tiny WW skewers please, they won't work out back, I've tried on the Monocog.
-The front 2.4 Conti Mtn King is no bigger than the 2.1 Bonti XDX, hopefully it corners well or it's gone. Other tires I am going to try include the Kenda Small Block 8 (rear), the WTB Nanoraptor (front and rear), Maxxis Crossmark (front and rear) and also maybe the Maxxis Ardent (front). I've also got a 2.2 Kenda Nevegal that I'm going to strip off the back of Marni's bike that I suppose I can try up front too. The XDX looks really nice out back and other than being a little porky, it may very well be my go to rear tire if it rides well and is durable. Boy I can't wait to settle on tires a bit and seal everything up with Stans, I hate tubes.

Without further ado, here are the pictures :D
I don't know if there is any dry dirt around but I'm going to go see if I can find any!

Wednesday, January 28

So close!

I teased myself and the Facebooker's all day but the new bike is still not *quite* done. Hopefully first thing in the AM though. The rear brake showed up where it was supposed to but I was unable to pick it up tonight due to having to shuttle the loaner car back home and then climbing with Marni and Brett. Stay tuned for pictures looks really nice. I hope it rides just as well!

Tuesday, January 27

Camp Report

What a trip, Camp Lynda 2.0 is in the books. First I have to say a huge, gigantic thinks to Dave and Lynda of 2-Epic for hosting another great training camp, not to mention Dave letting a bunch of crazy kids take over his casa for a few days. You guys are the best for doing all the hard work to put us all out on such fun trails. Thanks, thanks and thanks again, I can't wait for version 3.0 next year.

If there was a single theme for CL2, I'd have a hard time choosing between friends and weather, with both dominating my memories of the past few days. New friends and old, I felt like I never was riding alone. Marni and I hit up Starbucks a day early for our weekly breakfast date. A high pressure system had been parked over the front range for days and these were pretty much the first clouds we'd seen. They were electric over the city and I wished views like this never had to go away.
With Dan and Kurt on their way over to my place from Boulder, we kept the coffee stop short but nonetheless got a fitting quote on my java cup. The way I see it #76 is quite true, commit yourself to something...anything...and be set free.

"The irony of commitment is that it’s deeply liberating – in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life."

- Anne Morriss

Not a bad way to start a trip supposedly encompassing almost 200 miles of mountain biking.
The weather loomed large on our minds with a prior stellar forecast disintegrating into clouds and rain but the drive progressed quickly and was capped off by an evening spin up the bike path to Snow Canyon. Casa Harris was to be filled with Dan, Kurt and I plus DaveC and his lovely wife Meredith plus the ever spectacular Mr.Nice. In reality Casa Harris also became blogger and Facebook central but even that was a blast :) Those not on the computer had ample sports journals to read to boot.
More than a half a dozen moist bikes lay in wait in the garage every night.
Water flowed from the skies (and the campers) yet we found rideable trails anyway. How come we had to take peeing pictures this year...ahem Kerkove? ;) Days one and two I left my camera behind lest I kill our one remaining semi portable digital camera. Nevertheless there are pictures abound on Facebook as well as dozens of blogs like Adam's, Jeff's, Sonya's, Dave1, Dave2, Dave3, Kurt, Brad and so many others. We probably had 40 or more distinct participants this year and I feel like I got to chat with almost all of them at one time or another.
Even through the rains, the views were spectacular. Clouds shrouded the cliffs and the water made some colors even better.
Washing your bike every evening was a small price to pay for the occasional mud bog and traction in all the sand and dirt was amazing more than it was terrible.
By day three I had already had so much fun riding great trails with a ton of awesome folks, not all of who I can name here, that I didn't even care if mud spoiled the queen stage and my first dirty century of the year. But again we got lucky and the big bad loop was totally rideable. After the early climb to Starvation Point, small groups shook themselves out and settled into their saddles.
I ended up with Dan and Kurt and we powered around the course together, even in the face of a wrong direction big loop and pending "long" hike-a-bike to the high point. Fueled by Pringles, salami, candy and sports food and nearly endless chatter we spent a long and perfect day out. Headwinds were matched with tailwinds, climbs with great descents and my legs felt great. We caught Dave Byers and Kerkove on the final powerline section and eventually all 5 of us rode into town together. Once DaveC and Sonya rolled in we all hit the Hibachi place for dinner.
Stuffed and tired physically but oh so happy we slept off another food hangover and woke up to snow just above St.George.
I've really taken to ignoring the weather forecast lately. When it says the weather will be bad and I stay in, more often than not I just regret it. Don't let those clouds scare you away, just pack rain gear and go for it.
After a sketchy drive home (snow) I'm back to life in the real world. Even without a job there are bills to pay, things to sell, taxes to compute and studying to do in between the riding and blogging. This past weekend was quite the diversion though and it helped fill the life patience bank right back up.

What else can I say, if you weren't there you missed out big time.

Wednesday, January 21

Get ready for camp!

Just a quick post today. Yesterday I rode a long distance, maybe I over did it? Nah...

I did however lose my drivers license and a credit card somewhere along the way. Doh. Oh well, I got that fixed up this morning along with shipping out some packages and a bunch of other chores. Today I need to pack up, take care of my GPS stuff and make sure the Monocog is ready for action. Tomorrow morning Dan, Kurt and I hit the road.

Woohoo Camp Lynda 2.0!

Monday, January 19

Eye Spy

I checked out the Spy on the last super weather day as another nice couple pitches of Flatirons rock for Marni and I. Since it was supposed to be 60 degrees again and Marni had the day off for MLK day we got up late and headed up to Boulder to climb.
We started out on the First Flatironette, further North than last time and just angled right towards where the Spy becomes a separate, much more interesting rock.
In case you're wondering how Marni got the pictures, well, I'm just putting in my first piece so a lot of good a belay does until I do that. That's the Flatirons for ya.
The climbing was reasonably easy but nothing special for the first pitch. I ran it out all 60m plus stretch with a few good pieces in here and there and belayed off a BFT and a bomber nut. When Marni got there we moved the belay up to a nicer ledge that was unfortunately just out of reach for me.
The second pitch was money though. Twenty feet off the belay we had a fun rock wall/step to get over and then the Spy becomes a narrowing arete for the rest of the pitch. In the middle it's not more than 5 feet or so wide before falling off on both edges but the holds are always there and most of the pitch even has pro. Aside from one long run out I was able to sink bomber nuts the whole way up. Marni followed and even bootied a stuck #3 WC rock for my rack, sweet :)
We got to the top and had to do the "Jump" which I'd already scouted. It went smoothly for me but I don't think it was Marni's favorite thing. After that it was all downhill to the car and some Ben and Jerry's on Pearl Street mall.

Tomorrow a nice ride and keeping my fingers crossed for Camp Lynda weather...

Sunday, January 18

More Leadville snow biking pictures

Thanks to Sterling, I have a few more cool pictures to post up.

Long range view of the start :) You can zoom in if you want, these pictures are big.
Sitting on Doug's wheel for the opening volley.
Yay into the lead for the first time, pre wrong turn. You can see the chase pack assembling behind me.
Marni cranking it out down the course :)

Sunny sunday

After yesterday's race and still on a rest week, Marni and I had a lazy start to the morning. She made me some eggs and crepes with a little Nutella, yum! We stopped by a friends house on the way to Boulder to feed their pups and then spent a little time on Pearl Street mall for shopping and coffee. Marni says we're yuppies now. However I maintain that I only own technical clothing from Patagucci.
On the way out of town I snagged a 29x2.1 Bonti XDX from the Trek Store for the new 29er and for the gram weenies out there, it weighs 703g. I'll be running it out back with a Conti Mtn King up front to start with as an every day setup. I'm also going to try some Nanos for a lighter and fast rolling but still not flimsy (ahhhhem Crows...) setup. When we got home it was still in the 60s and sunny so I suited up sans leg coverings and headed out on a recovery ride. My legs felt really good, I could hardly tell I raced yesterday and I ended up riding until almost dark.
These bad boys showed up the other day too and are now at the wheelbuilders awaiting the arrival of the spokes. Soon soon soon the Vassago will be ready to ride for realz.
397g and 403g for those keeping track. Being built up with WTB laser disc lites (they've been bomber for me on 2 sets for the few years) and just some DT db spokes. This will be my training wheelset while I try to figure out a way to get on some EDGE Carbon rims this summer.
Tonight Marni has the girls over so I'll be hanging out with them a little bit as well as working on the Monocog to have it ready for Camp Lynda. I'm hoping to bring the Vassago but I don't want to have to scramble at the last minute to have the Monocog ready if I can't pull it together by Thursday AM.

Tomorrow Marni has the day off so we'll be in the Flatirons climbing The Spy and perhaps some other stuff in the 65 degree temps. Also hoping to get in a ride later in the day. 60's are predicted through Wednesday. What an awesome way to start a non rest week!

Leadville Winter MTB #1

A pretty sunrise saw us out of the house and on the road early yesterday, headed for Leadville and the first race of the season. I haven't raced in quite a while and I was pretty excited to turn the pedals in anger again. Marni was nervous as it was only her 2nd snow race ever and her first race ever on her new 29er singlespeed.
We rolled down the highway to the T-rex park and ride lot to pick up Brett and meet up with Bill. Shortly after getting back on I-70, a huge mess of (ski) traffic saw us cheering to hit 20mph. At first we were just annoyed but it soon became increasingly clear that we might miss our race! With a little interwebz help from my dad we managed to call Sterling at Cycles of Life and let them know we were on our way and not to start with out us if we could get there by 10 am. By a minor miracle the traffic eventually broke up and with some crafty driving and in car clothes changing, we made it to the race start with 5 minutes to spare. So much for a warm up but hey, at least we made it! We got registered, numbers pinned on and shortly thereafter lined up for the race. Around 30 people took the starting line with some fast faces in the crowd and I lined up on the outside of the front row.
Someone said "go" and we all clipped in and headed off. Immediately Doug on his SS took the lead and I tucked in right behind him on some choppy but hard snow. As we started heading up for the ~1400 feet of climbing I took advantage of fatty's tires on a bit of soft snow and took the lead. I was suprised to see no one immediately come with me and I opened up a gap. A minute later we hit a big snow covered road and the climbing begain in earnest. I looked back a few times to see a chase pack but they didn't seem to be able to close down the gap. Well until I made a wrong turn that is. Doh. All the chasers followed me on my wrong turn except Mark, the PBville snow race veteren. When I heard him yell and saw him go by I knew for sure I screwed up. We all turned and got back on the road and I sprinted off after Mark. Last year he was the one who beat me in this first race and I was hoping to turn the tables today. The rest of the long climb up 7th street was a battle. I'd close the gap, he'd stand and try to take it away while I tried to match his pace. Slowly I realed him in by the top of the climb and another soft spot on the course give me the break I needed to open up another big gap. Hey I hauled the 35lbs Pugs up the hill, I was going to take advantage of those 4" tires were I could :) By the time we got back off the trail onto the road again I had my gap and could see that there were only 2 chasers left. I knew at least one of them was on a SS so I flew down the road as fast as I could. Soon they were out of sight and the rest of the race isn't too dramatic. I didn't make any more wrong turns, kept it cool on the fast trail downhills and gave my effort a bit of extra juice if they ever seemed to be catching up at all. I rolled through the finishline in 59:11 and took the first W of the season. Sweet!
After my two chasers came in, Mark and Chad, I spun back up the road to cheer on Bill, Brett and Marni. Bill did really well and finished around 1:17 on his Yeti. Brett battled a 32:18 on his 29er to a 1:38 finish in his first snow race and Miss Marni was the first girl in a little over 2 hours. She beat the other girl who had gears so I think she was really pleased.
Marni coming across the line.
Marni all finished with Mt.Massive in the background.
Marni ran flat pedals (which she thought was a good idea post race) but forgot to wear her booties without a cleat hole. Thus she developed snow clod foot :) Haha.
Brett, Marni and I post race.
Sterling waiting for racers to come in. He and the rest of the race organization put on a GREAT event. For $20 you get a great race, free post race beers, tons of prizes and raffle prizes and apparently they can schedule awesome weather too!
We packed up from the race site, grabbed some post race grub at Rosie's where the awards were held and then headed out of town. Luckily traffic wasn't so bad on the way home.
Next race in the snow is at night on February 7th. These races are really low key and a lot of fun. Hope some of you can join us for the next one! Link and info on the right sidebar of my blog.

Friday, January 16


Just for M we have this week's Friday Starbucks date in sepia. Can you feel the enduroblogger vibe? :)
Marni likes whipped cream even if they forgot the extra part.
Gotta get your random quote fix. This one must apply to Marni.
And here I am, scruffy yet lacking a real beard by any stretch of the imagination. I think I will shave it soon and cut my hair, I just can't compete with Dave&Dave in the unofficial hair growing content. Dad I blame you :p In other news it was a disappointing morning on the baby front. While we have many many options still on the table, a certain part of us still hopes it will just happen au natural. I certainly understand that point of view but I'm positive about all the alternatives too. Nevertheless these days are still hard to swallow and each one must be dealt with anew. Luckily we have our furry baby to keep us company for the time being and it's hard to deny his appeal.
I mean who can deny the sheer joy of this picture. He was sure happy I took him out for a post Starbucks romp.
I was happy to get out too. A spin on the Pugs does wonders and I played around in some north facing snow fields under the auspices of "preparing" for tomorrow race in Leadville.
Turbo loves the snow. I often regret not being a bigger skier so as to take him romping in lots of it more often.
The day has started though. Move forward, make plans, execute. Chores, ride, study and perhaps a surprise will keep me busy today. More tomorrow and next month and for the foreseeable future. Hard to believe I've made over 500 blog posts since I started this thing!

Thursday, January 15

The natural disorder of things

If any one of you have even less to do than I, perhaps you saw on my Facebook yesterday that I was cleaning the house. Yes it is a rest week, which is loosely translated into "you have one week to do what you slacked off on the previous three weeks." However if anyone has seen my garage and gear room lately, you know I've been slacking for a wee bit longer than that. So yesterday I spent most of the day cleaning the house itself and then started in on the gear/garage/bike mess late in the day. I did not finish but I did succeed in creating a bigger mess while organizing things in a spare room. This is where I get to start from today. If anyone is building a townie bike or other and wants FREE stuff, I have tons of MTB handlebars, a few bottom brackets (ISIS and Hollowtech), lots of non-exciting but nearly new grips and the like. I hate throwing this kind of stuff out but I fear some of it may head to the trash. Luckily I'm addressing the situation before it reaches EPIC proportions. (There is still a huge mess on the garage workbench floor that is not pictured.)
And since I don't have any cool bike riding shots to post, I can leave you with another endurance blogger staple, the sepia toned image. Today I choose pancakes. Maybe tomorrow, sepia Starbucks date?

Monday, January 12

Pugsley rules

I ended up studying longer than I had planned today which is a good thing as I got a lot of stuff figured out and finally a system in place. Primarily I need to order some more practice problems, especially trig stuff but overall I'm feeling good about finally taking my Praxis II test on March 14th. After I put the books away and ate some lunch, I biked down to Marni's work on the Pugs to meet her for climbing. The melt was in full effect and a very messy combo of ice, slush, refrozen plow crap, fresh snow and water. Those 4" Endos take it all in stride and I've never been gawked at more than when I ride Pugs in the city. It's pretty funny to watch all the open mouth drivers. Tomorrow I'm hoping to ride the Pugs a bit more around the local trails and take some pictures if the weather cooperates. The rest of the week will be a bit of rest and wrenching on all the bikes as some TLC is on order. Then Saturday is the first race of the year, a short winter snow race up in Leadville.

Tonight Marni and I climbed at the gym with Chris and Brett for a while and then got some tacos, yum! I continued to push my endurance, "scoring" 170 points by my little tracking system and I'm pretty solid through the easier 11's now. The harder 11's and breaking into my first 12's is going to take some more effort each time working on those fingers and fine footwork. I'm loathe to blame my shoes so I won't until it becomes clear they're holding me back. More finger strength and better technique can definitely get me solidly through all the 11s I've attempted so far. Randomly I also scored another belay device (ATC XP) for cheap tonight. Now I have a replacement for my original ATC when it gets too worn.

Another awesome blog I know but the habit should keep me from dropping off the planet for a while. More biking and testing news coming plus keep your fingers crossed for the Brown Truck to show up soon...pleeeeeeeeeease!


Today's plans just got upgraded! Pugsley is giggling in the garage.

Edit: While I was finishing up ordering a couple more random parts for the new ride, I emailed Marni to see if she was at work yet. I was then surprised to get a call from her...still not at work! She left over 2 hours ago (for a 15 mile drive) and was still 30 minutes away. Poor girl :( The snow is destroying rush hour traffic today.