20 September, 2009

Weekend Riding (and test riding a Superfly) before the Snow

This is the result of Monday's-today's-snowfall...
Went for a ride with teammate and general homeboy Kenny Saturday at Marshall Mesa in Boulder. His aging Specialized Enduro was needing a new owner that wasn't a weight-shaving, discriminating racer (he was racing well on a 30 lb steed). He ended up getting a 20 lb. (9 kg) or so Gary Fisher Superfly. I hear good things about 29'ers but haven't actually ridden one-until today (Saturday). You really can't take anybody's anecdotal evidence or read about other peoples' research and come up with a conclusion until you actually ride one (not in a parking lot). Gary Fisher prides himself with having geometry that puts everyone at ease at the cockpits of any one of their bikes. When I got on Kenny's (Kenny and I are of similar morphology) the stance my body was in was NOT significantly different than on my Yeti. I felt a bit higher but the angle of my lower back in relation to my pelvis and pedaling attack felt ahhhhite. As I pedaled there was a disconnect with the visual input my brain was registering from the rocky topography I was to expect and instead, my receptors from the contact points on the bike received a circa 1970 Cadillac-esque, buttery ride. In a skiing sense I was expecting hardpack input but all I got was a powder run. Very cool and my pedaling translated to instantaneous watts to the rear wheel. Practically speaking, a 29'er would be great for the majority of terrain I ride around here. On non-technical downhills it would absolutely slay! I would have a hard time on the long, technical downhills at Moab like Top of the World, some parts of Slickrock, bombing the downhill at Klondike Bluffs, and some parts of Moonlight Meadows. It would be okay at Sovereign. It might could be a beeyatch at the Firecracker 50 and some parts of the XC races at WinterPark. Around here though, it would reign supreme. I just got a new fork for my Yeti so it'll be awhile 'til I get one of these bad muthus. Doesn't make the trade-off for a dual suspension seem worth it for around here...
Later, I took Maura to her soccer game where she scored two goals! On one particular play (they don't call offsides at U-9 games), an opposing competitor was driving down the field and Maura chased him down and jammed-up his shot on their goal. She was awesome! The coach kept her in long than usual due to sick teammates and she was great! I love watching her play soccer. I think she has no greater joy than winding up a corner kick or blasting in a goal (and of course hanging out with her Dad). She would've had three if she had better aim. Elk season's here too and there was a big old bull Elk grazing right next to Maura's field (that's when I don't bring the camera). Soccer's not only an international game but has interspecies appeal as well...

Sunday, when the rest of Team M went to church I did the old Pleasant Park/Highgrade standard again. When they got back we went out for a hike at Lower Maxwell Falls in Evergreen. Mason's only 4 (quatre in metric units) but he hikes like a champ. I put him on my shoulders when the uphills get steep and technical but really he can hold his own. We had a snack at the waterfalls and headed back prematurely due to some cold precipitation. Had a lovely dinner with the family to end the weekend. Note to self: this is one technical singletrack! I'd like to ride soon but I'll have to wait until the snow melts.

08 September, 2009

WinterPark Labor Day Extravaganza

Team M went to WinterPark for the Labor Day weekend. It was extraordinary. The girls went to day camp while I, the cycling Dad, cycled whenever they finished each day. We stayed at a pretty cozy, somewhat luxurious condo. When the girls were busy Mason and I played at the playground, walked, chased each other, and talked. The playground here at WinterPark had a skateboard/bmx/scooter park. Here's a kid landing backwards after doing an airborne 360 coming off the lip of the tub.

That Saturday they had a teenage battle of the bands while simultaneously having a skateboard competition. It was great, free audio-visual entertainment and Mason was digging it (me too).
This kid won his age division.

When the girls got back, I rode a quick 40 miler battling a ferocious head wind on the way back because the weather was starting to change. From WinterPark I rode to Sol Vista-used to be called Silvercreek (to check out the Rocky Mountain Downhill Mountain Bike Regional Championships)-and back. Our condo had a sweet hot tub where my tender gams got some hydrotherapeutic lovin'. I was also launching Mason up and into the pool when I wasn't in the hot tub.

Being that WinterPark is more of a destination spot for off-road cyclists I ironically brought my road bike instead. I'm still feeling the effects from Tipperary (mostly psychological) and what the road bike offers is a type of zoning out/disconnect from the hassles of the day and places a white-noise alpha wave hum in one's cranium. It's simplistically soothing and it's almost an out of body sensation I experience when I ride at a slight tempo with no iPod, going solo, in the middle of the mountainous, continental divide (water drains either to the Pacific or the Atlantic here). No other drug compares to cycling's purity and mind-altering state. I can see why the whirling Dervishes go into a trance-like hypnotic state spinning themselves into a tizzy. Instead of me twirling my legs are, thus sending me into a dervish-like state of happy, happy, joy, joy. My whole body is acting as one and once everything is synchronized: breathing, leg spin, heartbeat-the holistic trifecta due to cycling-I am at peace. Skiing is a reasonable facsimile thereof...

Saturday we went to Grand Lake.

Grand Lake was made from glaciers several million years ago and is a tourist trap. It's right next to the RMNP. I remember grabbing some decent coffee at a coffee joint 10 years ago when Team M and friends camped out near Shadow Mt Lake. Sentimentally, it's still here and I order caffèlattes and we drink our beverages underneath some shade, geeking on all tourist variants. It was Funkfest 2009 too at the park but it was more of Lame-o-fest because of the (lack of) quality of the funkers. There's some innate proclivities I have for mountainous lake-side settings. The ultimate for me is the California side of Lake Tahoe. Like the (Nevada side) ski mountain says-"Heavenly". We stopped inside the Grand Lake Brewing Co. right off of main street and acquired not one, but two, 22 ounce bottles of toothsome, Plaid Bastard (scotch ale) to sensorily imbibe in this concoction of ephemeral, liquefied "heaven" (not only that but boy did it taste yummy!) during din-din.

Sunday, I rode up to the top of Berthoud Pass, where I got drizzled (Snoop Dogg's favorite form of precipitation) on just a bit at 11,000 feet (3446 m). ...
On the way back down I was in the downhill zone and passed a bunch of riders riding their brakes due to wet surfaces and being general scaredy-cats. Again we chilled poolside and later that evening I lost a game of Settlers of Catan. Not even close to winning.
Monday-Labor Day-was dedicated family time. The kids were digging the climbing wall (as was I thus resulting in my hammered forearms) and watching the people practice in the skate park.
After lunch, we went up to the ski mountain where the kids rode the alpine slide and did the bungee dealio.
As were walking towards the alpine slide, I commented to sweet Melissa that it'd be funny if we ran into Kevin and Nicole and their family. So as I was setting up for the action, alpine slide shot, a gal doing the same for her family said, "Mike!" Lo and behold it was Nicole waiting to capture her family on film. Cool. After Kevin completed his run, we chatted about our (lack of) performance at the Tipperary Creek XC event and planning a trip to Moab soon. My teammate and general homeboy Kenny called us to inquire about which 4-pack ski season pass we were going to acquire. Being at WinterPark, we said the WinterPark 4X. That reminded us to actually purchase the passes while we were there and for Melissa to purchase and own a pair of ski goggles that wasn't as old as our oldest child. I barely remember the days when he had passes (pre-kids).

Just being with the family (including Mother in-law and Brother in-law) was real meaningful and relaxing and reinforced our decision to have a family. I-as compared to most married males-like my in-laws. Y'all childless peeps out there if you think a relationship is trying, include multiple kids in the picture and you can see the law of averages for long term relationships hover 'round the 50th percentile. It takes work but the pay-off can be huuuge. We spent as little money as possible except when we didn't. Hanging poolside, riding, talking, drinking choice beverages and having premium family time?...excellent.

It reminded me how cool WinterPark used to be in my mind and how a little getaway with nothing really too planned out can go along way in recharging the body and reinforcing the meaningfulness of a family. Work really interferes with this...