23 May, 2007

Enough Already!

you know, it's bad enough a tree smacked our chimney off the roof's foundation. it's the 23rd of may for crying out loud! the high tomorrow's going to be in the sixties! jeez! i'm tired of being cold and scraping snow off my and my wife's car! yes, i'm bellyaching! that's my god given right (to bellyache)! ite den, people. good night and good luck...

19 May, 2007

saturday's peregrination with g-ster and kenny l.

started the day buying doughnuts for my family's breakfast before i met up with my riding posse for the golden, co trifecta (green mt., red rox, and apex-no figure eight). got a call from alec saying he couldn't make it. sahhhite (read: that's okay). it was going to be long, hard day for me anyway because the three of us were getting miles and saddle time for the beloved firecracker 50. alec probably could've hung with us at green mountain though.
when we all meet up at the rooney road trail head parking, i peeps that grant now owns a 29'er. cool. i was really impressed by the whole 29'er scene at the 18 hours of fruita. he had the racer-x version of the titus line. at green mountain he's off and climbing like a fiend. apparently he's pretty fit. kenny and i are off the back chatting knowing that if we try to match his pace we aren't going to finish the two other trails. green mountain trail volume was full. bikers and hikers in all manner of dress and fitness were out there enjoying the ultra-violet radiation therapy. kenny was killin' it in his all-mountain bike, climbing like he was on a hardtail or something. pretty impressive. he lets it run on the fire road descent. my hardtail capabilities were floored trying to stay in his draft. i wish we had a speedometer. i haven't descended that fast since i owned my specialized fsr xc. at that speed if i had to bail there would've been permanent disfigurement...we even dropped grant at kenny's downhilling speed.
we hit the zorro trail to descend into red rocks. we go over kenny's favorite spot: dakota ridge. not really, he can't stand that part of red rox. we cross the road to actually go into the red rox complex. my chain's really dry at this point (guess that's what i guess for using a dry lube--it's like dry cleaning, go figure) and whenever i have to quickly bail into the small chainring, it comes completely off and i have to dismount to manually put the chain back on. drag. oh, and some freds see us coming and from their rest they get back on their bikes and pedal quickly away. grant sees this and ups the pace and i do too. we catch the last guy and the other guy's caught when we cross the street again. grant's climbing like a fiend again and kenny and i are at our own, slower pace mode. we go up the easy saddle at red rox. on the way down, some dude wants to pass, so we let him. after he passes us i glue up to his wheel and he's really not that fast. grant and i are pacelining behind him nascar-like and we wait for kenny at the fork. at the bottom we hit the head and go on the road to apex park. kenny winds it up on the road and grant and i tuck in behind his slipstream. at apex, since kenny and i know all the technical spots grant dismounts and we slowly catch up to him. he takes off again and waits for us at the first fork. after the enchanted forest exit, i go off the front and lead for a while. i was definitely on the way to being extra crispy finished at this point. i lead it all the way to the fork to chimney gulch and i'm done and out of water to boot. i think grant was just actively resting behind me on that climb. in the enchanted forest my yeti is telling me to do bad things and i let her run. put a nice size gap on g and k and wait for them at the footbridge. from that point on i lead the downhill and with kenny riding my behind we scream down towards heritage square. kenny's bike, i think, tells him to do bad things as well. kenny mentions that on the downhill he notices that i descend like a pinball, and i tell him that i descend like i mogul ski. the bumps control where i go and i steer reactively and generally plan my fall-line 20 to 10 meters when i bike and ski respectively. kenny says he could've descended faster but didn't want to risk going for the pass. there's really no comparison during the descent at apex between a hardtail and a dually. this reminds me of the descents at breckenridge when i was flying and passing all manner of dually's but at the bottom i had to stop and physically stretch my lower back. fun.
on the way back to zorro via red rocks, i cramped on the road in front of the la farge stone quarry. i ate my last triple threat power bar (chocolate, caramel, and peanuts) and voila, the cramps dissipated. incidentally the triple threat gave me a mean case of the number twos. i was last climbing that hellish fire road to go zorro; but once the downhill technical portion came up i blasted that. back in the parking lot we all agreed it was a blast. grant's so hardcore he did another lap at green mountain while kenny and i had a burger and fries at the blue moon eatery in morrison after the wait staff took their sweet time with everybody else (those overworked bastidges!). total ride time: 3H 8 mins. total time: a smidge under 4h.
it's monday and my legs are still done, hence the picture of the fork.

"dare i say, 'training'?"

whoa! what an excellent two days it has been. yesterday was rangeview's high school graduation ceremony at the ritchie center in d.u. very classy job of speaking performed by our principal and a classy choral work of the dude called five for fighting work. 100 years was the name of the song. i don't know if pam arranged it but it was well done. i'm not a big fan of that but it was tolerable if not classy. once the ceremony was finished we (alec, billy, and i) bailed! we went to waterton canyon, with our goal to go to the south platte trailhead and back. didn't happen. once we got onto the motorcross portion, it was felled tree-o-rama. it got old after the fifth bike portage over some pretty cumbersome obstacles; plus, billy had to bail to eat mehican food with his familia.
the climb, once we were on trail 1776, was great! i want to actually train (which at this point is just riding hard) on rides now. so, billy, alec and i gun up the trail in our middle rings. alec pops first because the pace billy and i established was pretty nutrageous. billy's climbing has improved dramatically and i hear him breathing behind me as we climb like richard virenque on epo, so (as with all possessor's of testosterone) i had to climb just a bit out of my comfort zone- vacillating in and out of my lactate threshold (aka lt). we're going pretty steady and he cracks and goes into his own climbing, active rest rhythm. i kinda let off the pace now that i have a gap and kinda go back below lt. before that happened though, on the way up, we notice some freds (poseurs) who were resting when we're climbing. once they spot us, they get on their bikes and crank it uphill. billy and i notice this (and without any communication between us) this inspires us to catch 'em. it's like a shark smelling blood on a wounded animal. ever so slightly we apply more pressure on the pedals and one switchback at a time we eventually crack them. they actually get off their bikes when we pass and they say something friendly; but, the evil dickhead roadie (edr) in me does not acknowledge their penance for their nefarious transgressions. instead we blow by them, rocking the middle ring. billy says some perfunctory biking cliche to them (i think), whereas i conceal my heavy breathing and continue to look up the trail. at lenny's roost (billy's colorful term for this bench at the top), it's me, billy less than a minute back, and alec ('bout a minute and change back). yea alec! he passed the freds and is continuing to improve his skills. the next landmark on the trail is called the abyss (again, it's billy's term). we descend and some of the creek crossings are roaring. i'm such a weenie i don't want to blast some of the crossings because it's above the height of my bottom bracket and will definitely soak my chain (yes i know, i'm a weenie). so i portage my yeti over the water and continue to climb out of the abyss. it's steep and scree-like. fitness will get a hominid over the scree on the bike. we ain't fit; therefore we walk. boo-hoo! did i tell you my shoe's are wet from the creek crossing i decided to cross and my poor toesy-woesy's are cold (boo-hoox2)?
we hit the downed tree-o-rama part and it sucks. so, like my bentley, audi manual used to say, we do the reverse procedure. the descent from lenny's roost is fun. alec get's a head start and we can't catch him. we get close though...alec's using his super-g skiing skills on the descent...
i tell them to not coast on the downhill to get used to spinning a big gear. near the the end, i tell billy i'll lead him out in the sprint. i wind it up, he slingshots past me. a great end to a great day. my right knee is kinda sore from all that spinning. need to buy some glucosamine chondroitin.
billy's gps said we did 20 off-road miles. i'll take it...

12 May, 2007

Spring has Sprung (about durn time!)

started out the day witnessing my oldest daughter being involved in the denver waldorf school's spring fling. as a first grader, her class did a skit with chanting, coordinated movements and general fun. grandma and grandpa came down too. It was a hot day. I complain about it-the weather-being hot but really it's a respite to all the latest round of freaky, cold weather. Which, by the way, put my health in a tailspin. Last weekend did the 18 hours of Fruita (read Les Miserables) on an 8-person team and every other lap i rode, i swear, the heavens opened up and blasted me with all forms of precipitation: rain, sleet, and even snow. it clogged my sinus and bacteria had an orgy in my nose. needless to say my general practitioner put me on azithromycin and an albuterol inhaler. okay. hot weather...it was nice hanging out. maura and maricel got their faces painted, they hung out with their friends and we saw all the grade levels put on their class "skit". i don't know if y'all are familiar with the rudolf steiner inspired waldorf mantra but one class did a eurythmia thing and it's like a waldorf version of p.e. for most of the rudolf's philosophy i'm coolio with it, but for stuff like eurythmia and a strange fascination with puppet shows, i kinda silently laugh at it. my colleague who's a waldorf grad knows what i'm saying. nonetheless, it was good seeing maricel in her element. running and laughing and interacting in the 1st grade sort of way with her peers, teacher, and the older kids who mentor her class.
after the spring fling i meet my cycling friends at apex park. apex is a bittersweet place for me. when i first moved here, it was bar none my fave mounting biking joint. now, after several years of erosion, there are these super gnarly, sharp-assed, irregular, large pieces of rock that stick out in obtuse angles waiting to shred/taco your tire (or worse, punch a large hole in your body/appendages!). needless to say, it's no longer tops on my list. so the posse this time's billy and his coolio wife: tanya, kevin d. (of moab fame), and alec the not-so-newbie friend and colleague. we change venue due to rain and thunderstorms near our first pick: white ranch. so we split the difference and go apex. at apex the weather's remarkably sunny, warm, and maybe even humid (after the rains). alec and i first show up and alec's rig is sporting a yak(ima) roof rack. he purchased it because he's going on a rocky mountain odyssey this summer and needed more space inside his truck. finally billy et al show up.
the first part's this super baby head strewn single track up to the next baby head strewn single track. billy's climbing possessed and i'm trying to keep up with him. after our first rest we notice alec's climbing like a banshee as well. after all these months we think he physiologically hit a new plateau. tanya is also firing up the hill too. billy definitely has a keeper.
the trail up has a long not-so-steep section. this apparently is where billy decides to accelerate and i try to match his speed. usually, not because i'm rude but because i'm a roadie, i tailgate the dude whoever's in front of me. either a psychological or a true nascar draft keeps me in-line with the leader. we're cranking in the middle ring and i limit the space to two car lengths with not a whole lot more to give if he launches again. after what seemed a long time, he cracked, and i go by him. it's all friendly competition. keeping my speed consistent until the entrance of the enchanted forest, i wait for 'em. at the top it's billy, tanya, alec, and kevin riding tail gunner.
the enchanted forest is named aptly because it's a loamy, twisty, whoop-de-doo infested singletrack with optical illusioned drop-offs. with an occasional baby head and rattlesnake thrown in just to keep things interesting. we do the figure-8 loop and billy and i make the climbs a power workout by keeping it in the middle ring. billy gets to the top first, followed by kev then me. on the way down it's the kevin choo-choo followed by me, then billy. we wait again, then we turn it up on the last downhill, with billy, kevin, and me in that order. billy's descending quicker than usual today with kevin being kevin. fast. i make it a point to not get dropped by any dual suspenioner because it's only alec and i representing the hardtails. this is easier said than done most times (read moab).
waiting at our cars, alec and tanya get back. alec, being true to form, crashes and skins up his right knee. it's officially a ride. this beautiful ride marked the beginning of more beautiful, weather-inspired rides in colorado during the springtime.
later that evening i get a call from alec saying he left his front tire at the trail head parking lot. i tell him that's par for the course of a cyclist. i've known people who ran over their tire; in fact, i lost a tire on the roof rack cruising down a highway on my way to visit jay in nm. so, i tell him it's not uncommon for these types of nonsense to occur every now and again. he's at the lot and unfortunately some lowlife nicked his tire. i lent him my old set of dedicated disc wheels because he was thinking of upgrading to discs anyway. i tell him since he's in the area he should check out morrison for some grub. he and his g-friend francie (sp?) and i eat at the morrison inn for some so-so mehican food. good way to end the day. incidentally, while i was riding, melissa purchased what's on the picture of this particular blog. nice huh? i guess that's what we're taking to lake tahoe later this summer after i do the firecracker 50 in breckenridge. it has turd row seating and sheeyat...that was a pun...
ps. on the way home friday i stopped in angelo's cds to see if they had patty griffin's children running through for melissa's mother's day gift. lo and behold they did. used! shweet, because this is probably one of her best next to her debut album: living with ghosts. and they also had another top ten: tom wait's orphans: brawlers, bawlers & bastards. used baby! if you're not a tom waits fan, shame on you (technically, he cowrites his music with kathleen brennan)! if you want to check him out, first buy the heart of saturday night.

06 May, 2007

Les Miserables

my condolences to victor hugo's title of his epic tale of boredom (translated to a musical nonetheless), but, in my novella (pronounced nohv-HELLA!), it's not about jean valjean and his redemptive travails in frog-ville. it's about a five foot seven filipino fighting a head cold doing an 18 hour event on an 8-man team in fruita, co during may thunderstorms. weather-dependent events can easily turn south as soon as the weather does likewise. i was hoping for the 60 percent chance that it wouldn't t-storm. it turned out to be 100 percent shizzlely.
on the way out of town, it's snowing cats and dogs by floyd hill all the way until we hit the vail valley. once we hit palisades, it's a torrential downpour. can't see a thing. at the campsite in fruita, kenny and tracey set up their tent at night during the rain. i bring no shelter because i crash in my toyota truck. we learn the batting order that evening and it's: kenny, tophe, marty, scott, locke, me, matt, and erin. it's an all level team. in order of descending skill level (most experienced first) it would be: kenny, me, tophe, locke, erin, matt, scott, and marty. **addendum to post since locke's being a crybaby** okay the new and improved skill level list (click here for official results) has tophe sandwiched between erin and matt (per official lap times); and, if i may add (which i will thank-you): erin (as well as locke) rocks the bike. our team name's the slow spokes not the pedal-files as matt creatively petitioned for.
at midnight kenny's flying to the staging area after setting up tent and his lighting system on his bike. when the gun goes off, kenny explodes off the line, road bike style and is third before the singletrack logjam. nutty. you see all the lights just stop to queue up the singletrack and i see kenny in third firing up the hill. incidentally there's this nonstop drizzle with a stiff wind so it's chilling to the bone. the excitement of this event fails to cancel out the physiological affects of the shitty weather compounded with my head cold my body's trying kick. kenny's going to complete the first three laps in record time. for a guy who skies in the off-season with no cycling, he scorches the lap times. so i sleep 'til my number's called...
when i get up i hear from tophe, who's bike is caked in the nasty fruita mud/sackrete mixture, that the mud's so bad that not only does it accumulate on the bottom bracket clusters to impede rear tire rotation but it also gums up on the fork braces and sliders and rear derailleurs. this causes front brake cables to snap and r. derailleurs to break. the mud is sooo heavy too that people can't even portage their bikes due to the weight. at this point, locke says bump dis and continues to sleep until it's safe to start riding again.
once a rider does his/her laps, it's like a relay. the rider on-course disembarks at the staging area, and the awaiting rider takes off like a shot once his teammate's off the course and the officials are watching. the weather's gray, cold, and not raining when i see locke finish his second lap. i go, and i'm cranking. i try to put it in the big ring whenever possible. there's some standing water. all over the course there's these micro cells of weather that unpredictably dump rain unbeknownst to the rider. so i fire off the first lap sub-30 minutes, at 6 miles/lap. second lap, a micro cell of cloudburst musta happened because everything's drenched and the dirt/clay mixture's like riding on a skating rink. the first third has an off-cambered singletrack, that if you fell downhill, would send you into the reservoir/lake. so i do my flying wallenda impersonation with my inside leg acting as an outrigger to survive this portion of the singlecrack. on the flats the mud's accumulating quicker than my credit card's apr. needless to say, i witness firsthand what tof's talking about. at this point i'm pisssssed! i was so expecting sunny skies and sunscreen; not mud, hellish windchill and a potential mechanical from the accumulation of mud on critical components. i was scheduled to do lap three, but i bailed because i just could not go forward and went to our tent site to tell matt he was up. i then hose off my bike so i can complete the latter portions of the day. note to self: singlespeed rider were cooking due to the simplicity of the ss design. so kenny volunteered his ss to me for my next up. i fire off one of my best times (including multispeed) on kenny's rig. again, though, a micro cell downpours on a portion of the course i'm not on. when i do lap two it's a repeat of my first session. first lap smokin', second lap portaging the bike on the uphills because it's mud-o-rama on me and the singlespeed. incidentally the mud accumulated so fast it ehfed up the chain tensioner so the chain was just skimming off the top of the cog whenever i applied my pistonic motion on the pedals. frustrating and again, completely anticlimactic and depressing. we're three laps down from third, so as the time clicks off the final minutes, it's matt, kenny and me anchoring, sneaking in some precious lap times, before the gun before the gun goes off signaling finito. kenny sets the team record for hot lap w/ a 27:38, he pulls off after lap two, then i go off, bell lap, like a meth user seeing a can of dran-o. i pull a 28:10. almost a hot lap. we finish 5th out of ten teams. still, 3 laps down from third. oh well. now i'm sleep deprived and kenny, tracey, and i commiserate on what a bummer of an event this was all due to inclimate weather. company was great (locke, erin, matt, marty and tophe)! weather was not. met some cool people who are thinking about doing the 24hours of e-rock (elephant rock)-a mostly roadie course. i'm not in. gotsta think about doing the road bike thing now.