28 March, 2008

...Sublime It Was!....

holeee mackeral kids. went to vail today for some spring skiing. tom (right) and i met up with alec and his california buddies for an exquisite day of skiing. it's already been said (i'm cheapening the experience the more i talk about it) but it was sublime! the highlights (in no particular order) were:
a) the weather. for the first couple of hours we hit blue sky again and there were no people in our area which was under the auspices of a cloudless sky in which copious amounts of ultra-violet radiation rained down on our pasty winter shells (i'm filipino, so i have a genetic pigmentation head start on my vampire-white looking homies).
b) the company. self-explanatory and reinforces the adage: the more the merrier.
c) the spring skiing conditions.
the combination of these three were so overwhelmingly organic, i didn't bother to take out the camera. but here's all the pictures i took (which are not particularly engaging).

i dressed for spring skiing which was: a running shell pant, arm warmers, a fleece cycling jersey, and long johns. endorphins are a-poppin'...

ps. it was quite mellower than the last time alec and i went. our goal this time was to ski/flow on the bowls without extreme terrain interuptions (like cornice jumping, powder hounding, or mogulsX3). more on technique than pushing the skills envelope...
pps. alec's buddy john was here. he met us on our last moab trip. he's a good kid. alec has good friends. hopefully you have good friends too. y'all don't need more friends, just work on the ones you have...
ppps. tom's our science department chair. that just shows you how excellent my department is at my high school.

27 March, 2008

New Bicicletta (trying to make it sound Italian, when it's not!) w/Addendum

yes, that's still snow hanging out on our front yard.
ite kids. what's a family guy to do when it's understood that his three kids get a free undergraduate degree on mom and dad (and said dad rides about 4 hours/week to become pack fodder)? budget, baby (i.e. no name brands like the pinarello prince-although when i first started racing i had the pinarello slx columbus tubing with the chromed fork and chainstay in firecracker red!). so, when his faithful steed of 5 years (of racing) starts heading south (i.e. shifting on its own, 105 nine-speed, not quite as crispy...) it's time for a budget-minded new racer! the best deal i found was the closeout '07 fuji pro team. it (noteworthy) has:
* c4 (not c7 boo-hoo!) 12k weave, high modulus, monocoque carbon (so the tensile strength's on the low-side) wishbone seatstayed, conventional 54 cm. frame/fork.

* dura-ace r. derailleur.

* fsa carbon mega-exo, outrigger ball bearings standard 53/39, 172.5mm chainring/crankset (slightly scratched, the bike shop took off $50 for the blemish).

* ultegra: shifters, f. derailleur, and dual pivot brakes.
* shimano r-550 straight-spoked wheelset (16 front, 20 rear), this is okay.
the price, including tax was still sub-$2k. on the websites i perused it was as high as $2.5k and as low as $2.1k. i figured it was a good deal. if y'all see it cheaper, tell me the url and my bike shop will refund me the difference. cool huh?
i cannibalized my speedplay zero pedals, thomson elite seatpost, and the fi:zik pave saddle (5 years of my arse breaking it in and chamois cream diffusion has elevated it to barcalounger status) from my old, faithful ride onto the new ride. haven't ridden it yet. seems like today might not be good either as a precipitating cold front's starting to hunker down. boo-hoo! well as long as it's show-and-tell, here's some pics of my 4th and 5th kids. adela...

...and ruby.
vicious aren't they?
ADDENDUM (added march 28th)
ite den kids. went for a ride on the new beasty and here's the dealio:
* it's designed more for road races than crits.
it's all due mostly to the frame and slack angles. the fork has generous rake and the wheelbase is longer than the giant. furthermore, the frame is conventional rather than compact (like the giant). the giant's fork is a straight bladed fork and the seat tube has a dimple to accommodate the rear tire's clearance (and shorter wheelbase).
* i was expecting something extra-special but nothing significant happened.
i remember back when the oclv's came out, i had my badass pinarello steel bike. steel has a fantastic ride that's different from ti (squishy to ultra stiff), alu (ultra stiff, unforgiving), or carbon (stiff but compliant). when i hopped on my bud's oclv it was stiff in a compliant way and it seemed that turning the pedals instantaneously transferred watts to the rear wheel-or so i perceived. that's what i was expecting from the fuji. it was close. remember when you first rode a pair or sew-ups after riding clinchers for so long? your perception was: boy, the road feeling is a million times more lively. the fuji was close again. instead of lively, it was mellow in a road absorbing, confidence in the descents sort-of-way. or to use a car analogy, instead of the fly-by-wire perception your butt gets on a bmw m-3, you get a very neutral and quasi-plush audi quattro ride. both are quality but i was expecting a more rear-wheel drive, front-wheel steer sort of sensory input. the carbon cranks were stiff enough in combination with the straight pull spokes that the bike did want to go forward with slight force to the pedals. hoo-wee though, the rear cluster's tight! i better be fit enough to make their revolutions!
bottom line: it's fine enough and quality enough but have yet to see its manners in a group ride where everybody's hair's on fire (and my actions are all on autopilot mode)...

24 March, 2008


went on the spoke ride saturday. met a teammate jeff at the ride. nice guy. he's a father too and spent most of the winter skiing with his daughter. everything was as expected with my lack of fitness. was in touch with the group until the climb, that's when i started going backwards. hooked up with them on the descent. it was fast going into the reservoir with a nutty headwind making our non-echeloning group guttered like always. the second and third groups caught us and that's when all the sprinters started surging towards the "finish" line (an imaginary line that's near one of the entrances). i was in the lead group motorpacing, not contesting the sprint and our group parted like the red sea. in the middle was this guy in the fetal position (apparently he touched wheels in the sprint). we all went back to him and he was bleeding from one side of his head (thank god he was wearing a helmet!), and his shoulder was separated. his eyes were closed and he was doing this guttural, breathing/moaning in intervals probably in and out of consciousness. his stomach was heaving in and out with his guttural moaning. luckily there was a nurse in the lead group and he was assessing his status and relaying it to another cyclist who had already dialed 9-1-1. police were on the scene immediately and an ambulance on its way. jeff and i went back to the start of the ride where we had two more teammates-chris and jayson-waiting for us to do a second, longer hillclimbing session (i didn't join them for their remaining ride). i couldn't get that image of that poor fella out of my mind. whenever there was a lull in our conversations (ranging from): coffee, roasting coffee, burr grinders, espresso drinks, espresso makers, tamping, digital thermometers, wheelsets, carbon fiber, the discovery team, television, treks (the waterloo bike company)...etc. i would think about the dude in the fetal position and i would become a smidge reticent.
it's monday morning-the day after easter-and i'm still thinking about it. on a happier note, i'm a teacher and this is my spring break. i'm going to my barn and getting the girls' bikes ready for a bike ride out in morrison later with my son on the bike trailer. we all have helmets and we ain't gonna sprint for nothing! if anything, that crash illuminates perspective. we spent easter with melissa's folks playing soccer with the kids while i walked the poochies around the park. later, just melissa and i went for a walk at dusk with wee mason. it was a pleasant day kids...

17 March, 2008

Heavy Snow Warning...for March 17th!?

so here's what mother nature dumped on (our backyard) us starting last night. yesterday i did a preemptive strike on hand shoveling the big snow piles (backwards) i created using the plow (to make room for the upcoming, newly displaced snow). i also woke up at 4am this morning-to plow-so we could make it out of our long driveway. this is now, early evening, after i picked up my beautiful girls from school.
our backyard again, with mount evans in the back, background.
and lastly, our front yard. even though it can be a pain to deal with, my god, it sure is beautiful...

08 March, 2008

Vail with Alec

vail's a massive mountain kids. this ski season has been particularly kind to the mountains of colorado. alec has a buddy pass that entitles him to purchase lift tickets at vail for a homey for $45. normally the adult price for one day's $92. $92! that's nutty, so we figured on friday we should have an outing to vail. my friend jay was supposed to go but his friend's friends were lame-oes! oh well.
what can i say but blue sky ski area in vail for at least 2 hours and a whole host of bowls that i can't even remember their names. here's the big drop of a cornice at blue sky. the tiny figure in blue/white's alec, reconnoitering a landing site right before he drops in. this picture's real but the visual context of it's phantasmagorical (how'd you like that word?). i drop in after him and the snow's deceivingly crunchy with a slight layer of fluff hiding the crunchiness underneath. it was still awesome. also on that side, we skied a little glade and it was like a daydream. trees randomly placed on the trail all going to the same place and here we were just juking in and out of these trees and ending up at the bottom. the terrain was nutty and the trees made it even more dream-like. nothing but cold and speed. it was almost giddy-like. needless to say my legs are hammered. alec on the other hand is getting his 20+ days of skiing and he has crazy ski fitness on top of his skill. here's the picture that sums what i have to get myself doing when i go skiing with this madman.no other really noteworthy thing to say other than another sublime outing with my boy alec-coupled with the no-traffic, no waiting in lines, and a fierce workout! my only complaint was the crappy flat lighting conditions dropping into blue sky basin. i'm tired but it's a dry kind of tired...
noteworthy mental shot of the day: on our return trip to alec's suv parked in an exorbitantly priced covered garage, we skied onto the tail end of vail's (junior) developmental program, which were a bunch of 2nd and 3rd graders skiing with their instructor. it was too cute, they were dressed accordingly as children from a wannabee euro-dork destination, fur coat wearing, high socio-economics tax group. they were skate skiing and talking. they also had helmets and nice skis. very nice to see the next generation of potential world cup winners. alec and i both agreed, that, while vail and aspen are a hoot to ski (and mountain bike), the towns themselves have a pretentious, highly artificial vibe that's not conducive to our level of homey-osity. which runs completely counter to other colorado ski towns like crested butte, telluride, breckenridge, steamboat springs, and durango (pretty much in that order). that's what we decree, so it must be true! i'll stop being so judgemental next time kids.

02 March, 2008

March Madness

ite den. two things: my group ride and the current snow conditions.
part one: the ride.
the group ride was fun. it was a pretty large group but yesterday's ride was slower than last week's (see First Group Ride of the Year blog entry). since it was slower, it allowed me to stay in the lead group most of the time. the winds were pretty fierce and as soon as we entered chatfield reservoir it blew, the remainder of peloton that made it this far, apart (me being in the apart field). by that part, i was already close to my truck. at my truck, the weather was so glorious by now (in the 70's), i shed my second jersey, shoe covers, and arm warmers. i tacked on more climbing miles by climbing a fairly mellow grade on a street called deer trail. i made it to the 285 junction but was so pooped out by the climbing and the winds i bailed back to my truck. it's always a fun descent when the march runoffs go across the gravelly roads-especially on the switchbacks. i tried to pedal as fast as i can as if to chase on a group to blast my legs. if left to my own devices i probably wouldn't push it this hard. i wanted to put in a 4h day but was too pooped out. i wanted to get my training in before another high-energy pacific-fed front comes pushing in sunday...
part two: the snow.
it's dumping like no other currently. living up here the conditions can get so difficult it's necessary to own a 4wd vehicle with clearance. i'm thankful that our first winter here wasn't a record-breaker like last year's. now, if i still owned my audi, it never would've made it out of our dirt road with such a low clearance. my tacoma's lovely for that reason and it also hauls a boat load of firewood. my next loveliest hillbilly tool's my stihl chainsaw, and lastly, probably the leading cause of death for underage hillbillies-the atv.
so i get gas for the atv and fire her up. not so much to explain other than riding an atv with a blade attachment. it's kinda cool though because the wind's blowing the snow sideways and my ipod's cranking a compilation of wagner's the ring series. kind of surreal.
we live on a ridge so the wind unkindly deposits massive amounts snow on the leeward facing perturbations on the landscape. what this means is, if there's a 12" dump, some places on our road will have 4 foot snowdrifts. for example, our patio (not 4' but you get my drift-no pun intended)...that's why i have to go out regularly to knock this stuff down. the following's a cut and paste of what the national weather service said about our climatological predicament for today (and tonight)

This Afternoon: Periods of snow with widespread blowing snow. The snow could be heavy at times. High near 30. Blustery, with a north wind between 16 and 20 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 5 to 9 inches possible.

Tonight: Periods of snow with widespread blowing snow, mainly before 8pm. Low around 10. Wind chill values as low as -7. Blustery, with a north northeast wind between 20 and 25 mph, with gusts as high as 38 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

ahhhh. nothing like winter living (hope i can make it to work tomorrow)...