18 September, 2010

Friday night ride(s) with the Homey Trinity

Last night was night riding night. Hez-chilly, Kev, and I--aka the Homey Trinity--rode last night. We were all sporting our lighting systems. Night riding is an whole body exercise in proprioceptive, self-control. What you take for granted day riding is what you need to be extra careful for at night. Scanning is of the utmost, not just of what's ahead but the hidden obstacles out of the range of the lights at the ground level. The cool thing is when your visual senses are on high alert, the watts applied to the legs via the neuro-muscular systems seem to go on autopilot. It's like powder skiing sort of-you see the contours of the snow ahead but your feet are currently submerged in the snow out-of-sight. Day riding gives you a commanding view what's coming up because everything-including peripheral vision is illuminated; night riding has a distinct cut-off created by my handlebar mounted L.E.D. system that creates a distinct visual boundary (e.g. the distinct cut-off H.I.D. car headlamps create at night-especially on curves). The ski adage: don't look that way or else you will (go that way-i.e. don't look at cliff boundaries) is especially fitting for night, mountain bike riding. Due to the dry conditions the boundaries of the trail (i.e. the sharp cutoff before you go careening down the mountain) are sketchy and super dusty. There was a couple of times I eyeballed the loose stuff on the edge of the singletrack too long and sho 'nuff my nearly bald front tire broke traction and I was heading down a slippery slope. I had to physically bunny-hop (or shift my whole weight via body english, gran mal-style) my bike back on the singletrack so I wouldn't biff it at low speeds.

When it was over it was very, very satisfying. 2.25 hours of pretty solid riding, probably 1200' feet of climbing? The weather was excellent and seeing the surrounding areas all lit up with a 360 degree panorama at the apex was surreal. The quarter-mile drag strips at Bandimere was lit up, as well as the motocross track made it seem as if we were overlooking a miniature train track setup. We all concurred that living in Colorado is a damn, beautiful thing!

12 September, 2010

Way Into the Off-Season

Yeah, we live nearby

Cycling is a priority but not quite as high up on the list as my daughters' soccer commitments. This weekend was in the Springs and thankfully not in Pueblo. Being in the Springs means that we can hangout with Melissa's Uncle and our cousins-which is always fun. For starters we got to see my cousin's-Casey-touring skills at the Olympic Training Center. He is one of the tour guides there. We hooked up with him for his 1:00 tour. When it was over we-including the rest of his tour group-all clapped for him. When we were leaving his Mom, Melissa's Aunt, said, "we love you!" in front of the tour group. It was too funny. Great tour; great presence from Casey.

Maura's team lost 4-2; but the cool thing was my daughter scored their two goals. Maricel's team lost as well but they're starting to gel-especially on defense. The weather was absolutely gorgeous both days. Fall in Colorado's absolutely stunning and super pleasant/mild. The rest of the Green family met us at Maricel's game; afterwards we hungout one last time at their house (in a cool neighborhood), said our farewells and headed back home.

Sunday, Melissa ran the Neder-Nederland 10K and when she came home I did the Highway 73 to S. Brook Forest to Shadow Mountain back to 285. Another absolutely gorgeous pre-Fall Sunday. Climbed about 2000 feet (609m) in 30 miles in 1h and 47 mins. 32 minutes of descending and an hour and 17 minutes of climbing. It was pretty steep in some places where I had to stand. Wasn't used to that since mentally I've been in the off-season for quite some time-even have hair back on my legs! The weather wasn't even 70° F (20°C)! Absolutely gorgeous.
Here's 285 heading North as seen from our flyover...

Highway 73 connects Conifer to Evergreen, a pretty popular route on the weekends

On the downhills you can go as fast as the cars; on the switchbacks you can go faster.
Here's S Brook Forest, part of it goes through a National Forest.

Climbing, climbing, and more climbing

At 9,000 feet (2743m) the Aspens are starting to change.

On the last big downhill, I got behind a delivery truck and drafted him back to Shadow Mountain. He lost me on the flats where I couldn't maintain his speed. My max speed was...

(or 81 kph)
Here's Shadow Mountain

Not too bad. I definitely have no endurance but it is after all the off-season. Thinking about doing cyclocross though. It's less than an hour for my category.
Great way to start the week (ending for some countries): my Texas won (and consequently I won a wager) and we hungout as a family watching my daughters play soccer-and did I mention it's pre-Fall weather in Colorado?

04 September, 2010

Labor Day

A slight change in plans. Instead of going with Team M to WinterPark the boys are homebound watching the house and dogs and doing Father and Son things. The weather couldn't be any more beautiful. Mornings being in the high 30's, how refreshing is that (it's pretty damn chilly if you're not up for it)? Pretty durn refreshing. The girls left yesterday so it's the Moose and me hanging out for the Labor Day weekend extravaganza of prosaicness and outliers.

We hit Flying J ranch. The scenery here at 8,000 feet plus is just nothing to take for granted (even though I do see this park almost every other day). First up was to take the doggies out for a walk. The singletrack here is beneath a canopy of thickly settled lodgepole pines so even in the middle of the day there is still plenty of shade with just some spots exposed. I let the dogs sniff away as we roll. I'm sure it's such a luxury for them with their otherwordly olfactory system to sniff at leisure at all the wild stuff Flying J has to offer. They're hyper from the gun but once we settle into a rhythm they kinda just walk side-by-side on the single track with Mason and me talking up a storm as much as a 5 year-old can contribute (come to think of it, my conversational skills are kinda lacking too). As we hike, some young kid on a skateboarding helmet riding with his Dad biffed it on some loose sand on the apex of a downhill turn. Nothing spectacular but I asked if he was okay and he was. I commented to the Moose on when we get back we should ride here being that the singletrack is so mild (except for said kid), topographically speaking, I kind of talked up doing a mountain bike ride for Mason. He seemed interested and once we got back to the house, we ate, I loaded the Moose's bike in my truck, and I wore my trailrunners (I would be his human outrigger just in case).

The first part's a loose downhill so I ran right next to him to make sure his front tire wouldn't wash nor his rear tire would slide past. So far so good and I'm pushing his shoulders up the climb as I run alongside him. That's pretty much the M.O. On the flat stuff he takes off. I'm imagining he's digging the way the wind feels against his face and hair and the occasional whiff of pine sap. He's instinctively avoiding the conspicuous obstacles (except when he doesn't). Every time we pass hikers going the opposite direction one if not all always holler words of encouragement to my five year-old mountain biking prodigy (he's my son afterall...). Next comes the cut-off to the shortcut. I shouldn't ask, but I do, and of course he takes me up on it. He could've done the full loop but I didn't want his first time off-road to be a chore. Next time, I say, we do the longcut instead of the shortcut okay? Like a good Moose, he always says okay Dad. Afterwards it's a caramel shake, a limeaid, and some artery clogging onion rings at the local Sonic for rewarding such a trooper. Never complained and came close to crashing several times in the loosey-goosey stuff (and that was just me!).

For our evening's entertainment we watch Toy Story 3 at the discount movie theatre. The Last Airbender was playing too but everybody and their brother gave that movie a pretty crappy review (even though I dig M. Night Shamalan).

So far so good Labor Day. I'm avoiding grading so far but eventually I'll do it (yuck!).

Monday. How many more times can one go to Flying J? Well if the one is us, another time! Took the doggies again since I feel so guilty for not taking 'em out during the work week.

A cold front's settling in as a forest fire begins out in Fourmile canyon in Boulder. Hopefully this brief front'll retard the growth of the fire.
It was another absolutely gorgeous day here in Paradise. In the mornings I'm starting to feel the bite of Fall. Speaking of mornings, when Mason and I were eating biscuits and (vegetarian) gravy as I was reading about Dublin in the NYTimes Travel Section, sweet Melissa told me about her singletrack soiree out in WinterPark. She's getting back into mountain biking (that's always a good sign!). Then old man Winter'll visit us. Not looking forward to that. In fact, I'm helping out Grandpa and Scotty for our potential cords this Winter.

Started to grade this evening. Work's reality has inopportuned itself on my vacation minded self.