29 May, 2008

What a week...

...and it ain't over yet! memorial day was kind of a bust weather-wise but we were still able to start a bonfire in our front yard and roast marshmallows to make some oh so delicious s'mores.

before all this nasty weather settled, billy, kev, alec & i went mountain biking at white ranch. billy, was on a downhill tear with his 5" up front and 5" in the rear. it's the mojo's mojo.
after the weather became compliant-wednesday-i went for a slammin' ride at centennial cone with billy and kevin (aka the homey trinity). first time we did it we rode one lap in two hours; when we rode it this time: 2.5 h doing two laps. yup. holy shmokes we were on a mission. we rode tempo on the first lap and we were a well-oiled machine riding pretty tight single-file formation (duh) on the narrow singletrack. one lap down and we just reversed it because there was a section of track closed due to elk migration. on the way back, kevin was possessed. he took off and i was just hanging onto his lead. i don't think billy and i could've gone any faster. it was unreal. there were portions where the trail was so narrow and we were gunning it in the big ring that if you took a smidge of bad line you were sunk-or as billy said, "f*&^ed!" to quote billy, "dude, the planets were aligned and we're not ever getting a clean downhill like that in a long time." the ehfed part of the deal was that most of the tight singletrack's on a high ridge; so, at these speeds, unnecessary launching is not favorable for quadrapedal living (and i don't want to untimely donate my organs either). and believe me, we were definitely at launch speeds 90% of the time on the return trip. there was absolutely no uphill traffic. it was as if the whole park was our playground. usually we try and be good bike representatives: yielding the uphill/pedestrian right-of-way but not this time and we weren't stopping (we wouldda though). thankfully there was no traffic. finally the last uphill grunt and it put everything back into perspective. 18 miles in 2.5h. yessir.
thursday, i rode with alec who was running super late and i had to be at my daughter's field day back in conifer so i rode for only an hour. bummer. my day was salvaged after hanging out with my daughter at her school's field day, volunteering to help her class. after i picked 'em up we went to baskin robbins and they ordered a double scooped, bubble gum ice cream. i had them hold a second bowl so that they could spit out their gum (i don't want them to swallow gum right?). before sweet melissa came home we did some artwork on the driveway welcoming her (it says hello mom!).

friday's my daughters' last day o'school. it was a nice conclusion after a busy school year under picture perfect skies. my daughters' were hanging with their friends and saying goodbye to their teachers. personally, i think i actually loved my elementary school teachers as opposed to my high school ones. here's a pic...

before their end-of-year picnic i rode a hilly, two hour ride here in conifer. i have to ride a state highway part of the time but it's quite safe actually. was a wee bit off my time of exactly two hours-did it 3 minutes longer. that's okay though. i used to be a big no ipod policy kind of guy when i ride, but when it's me, my bike, and music, there's something really comforting about it. steady state climbing with the ipod in shuffle mode is really transcendental. billy bragg, los lobos, elvis costello & the imposters, the dodos, thom yorke, and the crystal method, to name a few bands, were making me dance on the pedals (speedplay zeroes). the name of this road's called high grade road (which turns into pleasant park road). it's really beautiful (it's kinda chilly too up here 'round 9k feet). i need to take a picture one day of this road for y'all. it looks like one of the alpine passes a cyclist might encounter in the TdF (that's why i live in colorado). here's a video capturing what i cycle on my 2 or so hour loop where i live. it (my ride on this video) pretty much starts after left on high grade road (minus their center-line violations). the first part's (deer trail) what i do after the saturday crap-on-your-neighbor group ride. u.s. 285's the state highway i ride from my house to get to deer trail/high grade/pleasant park.

saturday's mason's b-day. i'ma jam some cake in me tum-tum as penance for a 5h ride on sunday kids. did i mention? kev, alec, billy, and i are on summer break suckahs!!

i believe this is how we'll spend most of our summer: on the hammock, chillin' with the physiological goal of having the heart rate equal to or less than 60 bpm (maricel's on the cell phone w/grandma).
i still don't believe my girls are going into the third and first grades! time is a'flying y'all...third grade...

20 May, 2008

My XC results are in...

...and the verdict is: i'm average (yoo-hoo!)!
click here for yours' truly's results, then scroll up to sport 40-49 male.

18 May, 2008

Sunday's Musings

rode a killer 5 hour ride with christopher. my legs were spanked but we did hills anyway. here's the noteworthy things that happened on the ride:
a) got told off by a sheriff because i was riding next to chris and it's supposed to be single file.
b) some dude crashed on the downhill on some rocks and an ambulance was dispatched.
c) there were an inordinate amount of cute cyclists out there today
d) some skate punks had to say something about us being grown men wearing spandex (purple and orange nonetheless) so we had a very sophomoric reply for them (that was me-had something referencing their fathers or something like that).
great ride, great weather, and people were unusually chatty when we passed them. when i came home my son mason and i hung out. when he's in a good mood he'll say, "hey mommy/daddy/or whomever/ i like your (whatever you're doing or whatever your holding at the time). for example, when i'm drinking coffee he'll say, "hey daddy, i like your coffee. is it new?" so when i came home today i didn't shut the bathroom door and i'm urinating (we were the only ones on the second floor) and he says, "hey daddy, i like your penis; is that new?" i reply, "thanks son. nope, i've had it for about 41 years now." my son. he's almost three years of age and he's cool like that.

17 May, 2008

Battle The Bear-aka My First Cross-Country Race for '08!

picture courtesy of kenny the mad singlespeeder

man battle the bear was fast and oh so fun to boot! after days of a malingering rain/snow mix, we finally have one day before the event to dry everything out. i'm thankful that it did. there was maybe one spot of standing water other than that the course was blisteringly fast, dry, and super hardpacked, with some occasional baby heads thrown in. here's an aerial view of the course:

at the beginning they combined three groups for the start. the 35+, the 40-49 (my group), and the clydesdales. there were about 50 people in our staging area! of course it funneled down to just singletrack 30 yards from the start. when he yells go i take off like it's a crit start and i think i was top 15 in the lead pack once it became single track. cool. one part of the course was super serpentine and if i carried too much speed it would just throw me up on a grass-side berm. not good because all that grass zaps my speed. there were two climbs where i had to bail on the small chainring. i couldn't believe the speeds people climbed. the course was super tight singletrack so it was a chore passing people. thank goodness some fred up ahead climbing was gassed. since we couldn't pass on that particularly steep section we all had to slow down. i took a breather there. then came the downhills. it was smoking fast and tight so you really had to center your line or else-once your front tire got caught in the rough-you'd get launched or bogged down or crash. i blasted the downhills in my large chainring and passed some people too. it was amazingly fun the downhills. not like the daydream-and-your-dead-kind-of-stuff like at winterpark or breckenridge but just hardpack singletrack fun.
our course was doing a 10 mile loop twice. so note to self: the start/finish is after a hard right turn and it's a sprint to the finish. the last 3miles i was battling it out with a 26 year-old, 28 year-old and 49 year-old. i know their ages because they write on your calf what age and category you're in.

i made it a point not to get passed by people older than me, but i did pass a bunch of young 'uns too. we were crushing the flats and i was fading a bit on the climbs but i would put in the big ring on the downs and i'd be back on the bus. on the downhill i passed the 28 year-old and the 49 year-old was drafting me. he took the hole shot on a left-hand turn and took the lead. i just sat back and drafted the best i could. the 26 year-old kicked it on the other lane of the fireroad (right hand side) crushing a huuuuge gear and had a one car lead. i jumped across to draft him and the 49 year-old did too. before the last right hand, flat sweeper there is a tiny little, one person, foot bridge. i jumped out in front and blasted it and got the hole shot over the bridge (can't pass there!). in doing so i almost took myself out because i entered the bridge with too much speed and not centered! i dropped it in the big ring and kept a gap. i shut her down for the right hander losing most of my speed and kicked it in the sprint where the 49 year-old almost passed me but the finish line came up too early for him (he was winding it up jack!)and just right for me. it was awesome. you normally don't have sprint finishes in a cross-country race. the promoters said that racers'd probably do 45 minute laps. sho'nuff, that's what i did. i started at 9:40 and finished pretty much at 11:10. what a great day! my bike performed well and was quiet. i drank most of my water from my camelback because it was hot; therefore i didn't cramp (although i came close on the last big climb). it was a beeyatch to try and eat on the course because people were so good and opportunistic that, if you slowed down, there was a high chance your butt would get passed! this was during the entire event. a whole boat load of people showed up for this and brought the goods at the start line and throughout the event. if you slowed, they would show no pity (as it should be, amen). i'll check the results on-line tonight. they were having technical difficulties before i left. kenny started at 11:30 and he's doing three laps (i think) on his singlespeed! that's waaaay out of my league...

11 May, 2008

Less Is More

yao-zuh (the thing on the left is billy's new ride!)! just got back from moab with the homee trinity (get it? it sounds like holy but i don't want to be sacrilegious here...): kev, billy, and me. the ride out was treacherous because a major snowfall occurred on the way out and vail pass-again-was nas-tee! i just caught glimpses of it because i was in and out of consciousness from the night before. my honey and i just saw/heard kathleen edwards in boulder friday night. 6 out of 5 stars (yes, i said six out of five) was her performance. she's talented and she rocks! anyhoo i would wake and stare out of the window and be in disbelief witnessing all the snow and ice accumulating on i-70. nutty. but once we got to fruita, billy had one singular thought: get my new ride! billy purchased an ibis mojo, spec'd with xt with the mavic cross-action, straight pull, bladed, wheelset. beautiful. we decided to break it in at a 4,100 foot climb up a trail called top of the world. by this time the sol (which, incidentally is located in the orion arm of our spiral galaxy, classified as a main sequence star according to an h-r diagram will evolve into a red giant whose diameter will engulf earth's solar orbit and all life will simply evaporate in about six minutes in about 6 billion years-so y'all better get your christmas shopping done early and purchase some 4,000,000,000,000,000,000 spf sunscreen while you're at it!) was gloriously fusion reacting hydrogen molecules producing helium atoms resulting in obligatory radiant heat for earth-bound carbon-based life which, in turn, synthesized vitamin-d for said carbon based life ultimately producing copraphagic smiles from ear-to-ear (specifically on the faces of aforementioned homee trinity). oh shnap i was on a science teacher bender! okay for your quiz today, find out the fuel cores of the the white dwarf (trick question), black dwarf, and red supergiants. thank you...
we started at the colorado river-site of the burned-out dewey bridge because some simpleton parent couldn't control their seven-year old pyromaniacal son-and to get to the top (of the world) we had to climb, climb, climb. we all remembered the climb not being this brutal but man the rocks were sharp, nasty, and frequent. one thing different this time as compared to last? no snow, more fitness. it was almost spiritual, climbing since we were the only ones on the trail and it was eerily quiet. once we started climbing we didn't talk and we hunkered down for a state of steady aerobicity while constantly scanning uphill for the sweet lines. like i said it was quiet and our bikes were quiet, quiet, quiet. the recent storms made all the flora high-contrast green against the red sandstone and funky moon rock on the ground. here's billy taking the sweet line on a particularly difficult, off-cambered piece of slab...

here's me trying (to english) the same obstacle with a slightly different line. it was so hot i had to unzip my jersey (thank god for full-zip jerseys!).

the scenery was like looking through a polarizing-effect lens with the layering of high-contrast greens, browns, and reds. billy set a pretty high pace amped up on his placebo affect and the technology accompanying his new steed (okay, he's pretty fit too). once at the top, this is what we saw:

on the way down billy's new ride awakened a dormant skillset in his brain-the downhill skill. he was flying and kev was too. in fact, they were going at such a warp speed i crashed trying to keep up with them. i might have to reconsider my hardtail-only stance. if it weren't for my cat iii road handling skills (this is a not funny long running joke i have with my friends grant and kenny) i'da been a dead man. the crash hurt. i banged up my knee and my elbow-the entire left side. i currently walk with a wee-slight limp/gimp.

we wanted to do a second ride but the 4,100 foot climb coupled with the heat kinda cooked us so we bagged that idea. moab was a'buzz with pedestrian life this time of year. all manner of people were out and about. there were a lot of foreign visitors too. i don't blame 'em i'd be here too with a powerful euro. there was also an inordinate amount of cute members of the opposite sex. it made spectating rather entertaining. we stayed at the archway inn with visions of slickrock and the sovereign trail dancing in our mellons right before mr. sandman paid us a visit. note to selves: we're not doing top o'the world anymore for 2008! we wake up and since we were on a time limit and our quads spanked from the previous day's effort we decided to do sovereign instead of slickrock. we roll and billy is possessed by the spirit of mr. clean. holee shmokes he cleaned all manner of gnarly technical stuff on the way up. it was like "ite kids, school's in session!" kev and i were dangling off the back a wee bit. once we got onto some flat stuff i took the lead and we played cross country follow-the-leader. it was a hoot blasting through berms in the singletrack, bunnyhopping over babyheads on the sweet line, and cleaning some super angular abutments of rock scattered every so often. sovereign is rare in moab because it's a true singletrack. we didn't get to our destination because we had to turn around to make it home on time. here's kev cleaning one of those angular rock abutments. on the return trip kevin had the lead and he opened up the throttle.

big chainring time! we were flying through the singletrack and i was barely staying on my line since i was getting bounced something fierce on my jittery hardtail. good lord, what a great conclusion in such a short amount of time. on the way back we ate at billy's fave sandwich shop where my carnivorous brothers ate sirloin and i ingested a portobello-provolone creation in glenwood springs.
note-worthy observation: on the way out some dudes asked us why we're taking off so early from such a glorious day/ride, and billy said, "because we're honoring our wives today."-it's mother's day today. the guy got kinda smug but his friends non-verbally communicated i wish we had someone to come home to (they immediately got very quiet).
monday's gonna hurt y'all...

04 May, 2008

Two Down, Two To Go

sunday was mellow. maura had another game today and i think her whole team-including herself-was gassed from yesterday's efforts. she scored a goal today and so did her friends zack and lane. a lot of promise from these youngsters in the future soccer arena. it's impressive to watch. i get pretty involved but i keep it in check so as not to be a little league dad. we went home and they still wanted to play soccer, so i put mason down for a nap and it was me against them. if they showed good dribbling skills i kind of pretended to defend against 'em. i just wanted them to get some basic skills down. they were fun. after that, they wanted to ride their bikes. maura has a new bike with gears and handbrakes so she's still getting used to that.
that's pretty much it for today. looks like a wee cold front's settling in again (figures. i washed my ride yesterday). baths all around for everybody tonight so they can be squeaky clean for school tomorrow. i think the pbs show globetrekkers is coming on tonight. my kids love watching that travel show as much as i do. it's breakfast burritos for all tomorrow morning. scored on some books and cds at my most favorite public place in jefferson county: the public library. take a look at what i scored cd-wise:
-interpol's turn on the bright lights
-elliott smith's new moon
-animal collective's feels and sung tongs
-windham hill's 25 years of piano windows
-tears for fears' songs from the big chair
i dig the windham hill stuff especially their piano artists because i grew up playing the piano and considered myself proficient at one point in my life. i'm also a fan of george winston.
i checked out the tears for fears one because that's the stuff i used to listen to when i was teenager living plano, tx. the home of lance armstrong (i used to watch him as a 14-year old triathlete lapping the pro/1/2 fields in dallas), and a great place for a diaspora for me, my wife, and most of my friends whom i consider close. do you know what you call a person from plano, texas? just a plano texan (BUH-tish!)...
again, no cycling this weekend but as i mention previously, that's ahhhhhiiiite.

03 May, 2008

Who's Your Daddy?

melissa (and her mom who decided to make a vacation out of it too) went to a school lawyer convention in north carolina this morning. what does that mean? it means yours truly'll be looking after the welfare of three kids, that's what it means (shoot. four if you count me!)! this morning wasn't so bad though because maricel spent the night with grandpa because she was going to a birthday party this morning. i couldn't take maura to her game and take maricel to her designated pickup-hence spending the night at grandpa's in order for grandpa to play delivery man for which i am grateful.
melissa and maricel left at 5 this morning so i got up to say goodbye. unfortunately mason got up an hour and a half later so i couldn't sleep in. might as well get up even though i'm slamming tired. this morning i made them a bagel omelette sandwich in order for maura to top off her gas tank for her big game. speaking of which, maura scored another goal today. she has awesome breakout speed but at the point that when the ball's about to get near the goal it kind of escapes her. she had three near misses like that.
here she is, busting a move.
oh man she looked great though...mason's down (well he's in his room, farting around not really napping yet) so it kind of frees up some time for me to clean my truck. i like trucks. actually i like all manner of vehicles that appeal to my (lack of) style (i really dig fast wagons, for instance). my cars (owned) tally is this-in chronological order: '76 dodge demon (muscle car), '83 nissan sentra (loved it!), '90 jeep wrangler (loved it!), 93 f-150 (ite), 93 volvo 855 glt (loved it!), 96 audi a-6 avant (loved it!), 95 audi s-6 avant (bittersweet!), '02 toyota tacoma (would marry it but i think there are laws against these kinds of things). i like standards too. standards are cool like that. from all these, what i really miss was the light-pressure turbo'd volvo, glt wagon-even if it was front-wheel drive. it would haul ass and haul a lot of cargo too in that cavernous wagon area. it even had a turd-row seat and a booster (the audis did too). it was a sleeper vehicle in such a way that cheese-eating high school kids would get the swedish, soccer-dad smackdown for their testosterone-induced transgression of trying to beat me off the line (i can ride the brakes like anybody else at the stop light to spool up the light pressure turbo for take-off). the look on their faces as my baby launched was priceless. it expressed oh no he di'in't!
picked up maricel from her birthday soiree with three of her classmates/friends. they were all beaming from having such a perfect trinity of enjoying each others' company.

here she is, grinning from ear-to-ear with her just finished build-a-bear named izzy, with her fiercely loyal german shepherd hanging around to ensure she's safe. no cycling today, but i get to see my kids be kids and truly enjoy themselves as these little sentient, lucid beings, with a sense of humor showing emergent personality/intellectual characteristics that at times is incomprehensible--for me--because they're growing up at a pace that i wish i could steep myself in just a wee bit longer. i'll take that trade-off...
this vegetarian pizza's (artichoke hearts, spinach, white sauce, zucchini...) what we're having for din-din. we're waiting for it to cool off. we'll wash it down with some coca-cola and watch shrek for the apres-dinner entertainment.