26 June, 2007

When Good Grouse Go Bad!

jeez! today, cycling mount falcon, i got attacked by a fowl creature. namely a grouse! it all started by doing a 2 hour ride (it turned out to to be 1h 50 min actually) at falcon. billy told me a target time to the top-ladies and gentlemen that's what's called an alliteration-(to gauge/compare my fitness with one of our acquaintances) of 37 mins so i based my perceived work efforts on that. busted a sub-37 without redlining because i wanted to get in a climbing/power workout today. usually if it's hot, i die; but today was nice and cold so i was powering up pretty good. at the top i keep riding towards parmalee trail, do that in the middle ring, get to the top and do the ute trail. when we first moved to colorado, sweet melissa pronounced ute, "ooo-tay". it's actually pronounced "yoot" from a proper noun referring to a native american tribe. whenever i see that sign that's what always pops into my cerebral cortex and i smile-anyhoo, it's on ute where i get attacked. ute is cool because there's a couple or so technical uphill parts that you have to power/finesse through to clear it. after the techy stuff i see this healthy looking grouse to my left. being the animal lover that i am i slow down to give it the right-of-way. well, this beeyatch slows down too. then i speed up. this fowl creature speeds up too. this punk muh-fuh was sizing me up for an attack. so before i could get off the bike to use the bike as an over sized bat to bust a home run on this puffer fish wannabee freak, it propels itself, all puffer fished bloated with feathers all outstretched, beak first a la hostile projectile at my thoracic/facial area. whereupon survival instincts take place and i turn my head sideways and bust out a kung-fu hand buzzsaw routine david carradine would've been proud of. needless to say it hit my manly pectorals and i shriek out a string of f-bombs and other useful expletives in its name. hominid vs a wannabe chicken. what a nutty encounter. adrenaline's flowing and i rock the tower trail, granite steps and all. other than this close encounter with a freak grouse, the ride's pretty successful...

16 June, 2007

winter park series race #2: mountain circuit

talk about late-a$$ start times...how's about 12:20? kenny suggested we upgrade our category to expert in order to race early and leave early. i wanted to defend my g.c. and win the schrader valve inner tube when the series is over, so i suggested we just chill and race our respective sport categories. i raced expert once in texas because i missed the sport start time. came in dead last. his suggestion brought up some painful memories. anyhoo, since we (we being kenny, his niece amber, and moi) were there ugly early we looked at some of the single-track we were going to encounter. it was gnarly. whoever picked the course must've had an evil streak. not really, it was quite an exquisite piece of single track. it contained: off camber uphill and downhill switchbacks, tree roots, super pointy, angular rocks, tree roots, berms, mud boggy sections, tree roots, super-tight single track, 800 or so feet of climbing per lap (we did two), tree roots, bridges, fire roads, altitude starting at 9K feet and getting close to 10K feet, and did i mention tree roots? it was awesome. the only complaint i had was a corner marshall zoning out and i missed a turn whereby two people passed me. the downhills were sick! i got passed twice on the downhills by hardtails, that's how skillful and fit my competition is (mens sport 40-44). there were about 40 or so in my class today and it began with an uphill start. just like last week, it's fast and i'm redlining 15 minutes into it. if i just hold on, i know the profile plateaus so i suck it up 'til then. the closest thing to describing it is like apex park's enchanted forest except ramped up to an expert's only terrain, stretched out over 8 (x2) miles. it was awesome. the only drag were people dabbing i.e. people who couldn't clean the uphill technical sections resulting in log jams (because we were drafting each other super close). i came in 13th, six seconds (in 13th place) slower than my homeboy and teammate kenny who raced it on his all-mountain rig weighing close to thirty pounds. my overall g.c. remains unchanged at 5th overall. on the way back, i-70 eastbound was shutdown because a tractor trailer rig crashed near the hidden valley exit and fell onto a honda element. i called c-dot and they said in addition to the crash, that a flight for life helicopter was on its way. scary. if you look closely at the picture, right above the roofline of the sheriff's car you'll notice the upside down element with its wheels in the air. nutty huh?
the quote of the day was from my complicitor kenny who said on our way home, "jeez mike did you smell that mud? that was some stinky ass mud!" to be honest, i didn't notice that stinky mud, but it did get all over my kit and my beautiful yeti. yessir, i noticed that...

12 June, 2007

long live the jeffco public library (evergreen branch)!

scored on 2 really beautiful pieces of music at my public library. so, instead of sounding like a pretentious music connoisseur, let me say, "it's da shizzle y'all." here's what one person said of wayne shorter's speak no evil. blah (scroll down to notes section). this album's after mr. shorter recorded with miles, so it's not quite as experimental and he teamed up with jazz's most badass supporting cast to create a more focused, improvisational sound (sorry, i sounded like a pretentious connoisseur).
here's what somebody else said about calexico's feast of wire:
blah. what can i say other than living in tucson can make one's brain(s) work mysteriously, creatively, and independently-spirited? yup. if y'all don't like these pieces go out and buy brittney spear's box set and waste your time trolling for honeys on your myspace account...
addendum to blog: lest we forget (my apologies to the pow motiff here), i also scored on my friend alec's suggestion of pavement's slanted & enchanted, except it's the special 2 disc set with biblical proportion liner notes and all the b-sides one could wish for if you're a pavement fan. read some biased reviewers blah-blahs here. as a science teacher, i'm off for the summer so here begineth my daddy daycare routine. i wouldn't trade it for a pinarello paris (or at least i'd think about it for more than a pico-second). check out the above pic of this beauty...later y'all.

09 June, 2007

the winter park series inaugural hillclimb

ah yeauh. planned this event since the end of our school year...i've heard that it's one of the best race series around since we've moved here but never participated until now. the cool thing too, is, my colleagues and homeboys hez-chilly and alec also raced it. i believe this is both their first mt bike race too. how cool is that? we rode this past weds at apex and billy and alec weren't feeling it at the end of the ride (to do the hillclimb). billy decided to do it anyhooz with his son; this change of heart, according to alec, was enough to swing his wishy-washiness to commit. so 6:30 ante meridiem, today, we meet at the break place in morrison. with alec and i in my tacoma and hez chilly and hogan in the ridgeline we roll over to winter park. my start time's at 10:36 (and alec and billy's about 10 minutes apart) so we all have enough time to register and donate our monies to the corporate behemoth we all know and love: starbucks. the nutty thing about this mountain bike race is that they allow 'cross bikes. hello. this is a mountain bike race? so. note to self, "i'ma cheat next year and roll in my 'cross machine."
when i stage i notice my category, sport men 40-44 combined with the 45-49 is huge, and, to boot there's a 'cross (dresser) biker in my field as well. uncool. the announcer counts us down and we're off. it's like a criterium start and everybody's lining up in descending skill level. oh look who's in front, 'cross boy...the lead group's tear drop shaped and i'm pulling caboose at the southern end of the teardrop. the pace is high and starting at 9k feet can be physiologically challenging (read: either, or, both lungs and legs'll start screaming). we're middle ring climbing and noboby's changing positions and my legs are boinin'!!! if i continue at this pace i'ma gonna pop! so i back off and establish my own rhythm. i can see up ahead (they're--the 15 or so riders--are about 10 meters ahead of me) people are popping too. there's a guy in an old school, pink, once jersey (it's a spanish bank, pronounced OWN-say, espanol for eleven...)whom i target for no apparent reason to try and catch (maybe it's because he's wearing an old school, pink, once jersey). the gap from once dude who's 5 meter behind the lead group is staying consistent at around 10 meters. at this point the gaggle of 15 is now discontinuously, single-filed. i increase my torque spin and i'm closing the gap. i keep it in the middle ring and once dude's spinning the little'un. i catch and pass him and because i'm a roady i conceal my breathing to let him know it was effortless to catch him (when in reality i'm redlining). this inspires me to increase my rpms and drop it into a more difficult gear. now i'm passing all manner of people but i don't know who's now in my category because we're catching all manner of other categories. we catch the expert women and hey! i pass the 'cross dresser. i'm pumped now and i rock the bike out of the saddle on the crest of a small hill onto a flat section where i'm spinning the middle (chainring) small (cog). i think i'm at least top ten now and with the last switchback in sight followed by a steep riser i see people dropping it into their granny. i keep it in my middle and pass a whole slew of other people. i look down at my watch and i pull a low 45 minute time. excellent. my goal was a 40 something because alec and his analyzing self figured out by comparing his gps profile with another local climb similar to this (not comparable length-wise but rather elevation gain-wise), that a 40 something would be comparable to 50 something at our local climb. he also predicted from billy's time at our local digs that billy could potentially podium. in fact, billy was a minute and change off of a podium finish. yea math and science! after i finish i ride down the hill to see my boys. alec's drilling it and i yell at him to pass this last rider, which he does! his goal is to do it in under an hour. he was a minute off. next comes billy, looking strong crunching his middle ring on the climb. last but not least comes hogan, riding like a man doing this hella-hillclimb at age eleven. righteous. this blog entry's picture is lunch rock (aka the finish line) in winter (obviously). it's a pretty exposed ridge at 11.2k feet, just a smidge below colorado's treeline (which is 11.5k feet). cruel? maybe. fun? ah yeauh.
at the bottom of the hill, after the hillclimb, billy has this scary, omniscient side of him that if he uses it for evil, we'd all be in trouble. he's angling for us to wait for the free shwag give-away because "we will win" he says, if "we're patient." and sure enough as the minutes tick off we're winning some choice shwag. alec wins a chain cleaner and koobi saddle coupon worth $140. billy wins a $20 gift certificate at a local seafood grill and i win a $20 gift certificate at an organic deli, along with a white lightning compass/whistle combo (what the shnap is that concoction?). so, with certificates in hand we have lunches free of charge. how cool is that? this hillclimb turned out to be very satisfying in terms of culling an honest race effort from the participants--us--and the returns from this effort via lovely shwag. check out my times here. i'm officially in 5th place overall in my category. maybe i should do the xc race next week just to defend my ite general classification (this is what roadies call g.c. pronounced jee-see)?