Thursday, January 31, 2013

Before/After


 Fresh powder calls for a change in mode of transportation 


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Kanza prep begins

Took the Nature Boy out to the Park today. I was scouting out locations for this winter ecology/tele-ski class. It also served as the first big ride on this bike since I signed up for the Dirty Kanza. I really don't know why I don't ride the All City more; it brings a smile to my face every time.

I took Devil's Gulch out to Fall River then climbed into the park. My first stop was up at Many Parks Curve. We've been up there already, but I wanted to see what the climb was like and how poor the snow has become. It's really not that tough of a climb; everything around here has such a mellow grade.   Many Parks is far from the "top" of Trail Ridge Rd, but as I remember it from two years ago, it doesn't get any steeper. 

It was tempting to hop the fence and continue on, but considering the Park is kind enough to grant our school access every year to run classes, that nagging conscience won out and I opted to obey that "no bikes" sign.

Looking over to Longs
The ride down was fan-f*in-tastic. Grippy tires on a stable bike without the usual crosswinds made for killer descents all day. Coming out of the park past Beaver Meadows visitor center, a speeding sign flashed 46mph. Who said single speeds weren't fast?

Looking down @ Moraine Park, where I soon went through to get to Bear Lake
 The curves down from Dear Ridge (intersection of 34 & 36) further added to the enjoyment. I turned right towards Moraine Park doing at least the 25mph speed limit. Heading up to Bear Lake there is a several mile long gravel stretch which finally justified the knobby tires. Not that they were much of a drag before that point. It was no Rothrock, with mostly even gravel, instead this stretch was a slog of a climb. Deep mounds of powder were disguised with inch sized stones and wet sand from melting snow here and there. Again, there were no terribly steep pitches, so it wasn't too bad.
Hallet's Peak, just above my second destination
Saturday's in a National Park aren't exactly quiet, so there was plenty of traffic. Taking on the "cars are coffins" mentality I felt the urge to flip off a number of them.  Especially the ones who felt the need to tear ass on a gravel road with spectacular views all around, creating a cloud of dust to ride through. That's the way to experience your national parks alright (...dripping with sarcasm). The stout "manly men" in their SUV's shaking their heads and laughing when they see me on the side of the road. "Hey, I'm naturally increasing my red blood cell count. What are you doing for your health?"

Ah. Bitterness. I apologize.

There was a woman who stuck her head out while passing me who smiled and said "keep it up. you're amazing!". So not all those drivers sucked.

The rangers jolted outta their seats when they saw me ride the 10' to the trailhead  "Just getting a picture. No trail poaching fella's, no worries!"
One less car in a nearly full parking lot. 
I dropped down into to town as the sun broke through the clouds and the forecasted 50degrees seemed more of a reality. Coming into town I thought of stopping at Kind Coffee again to grab another hypothermia-inducing smoothie and a soggy breakfast burrito. It then struck me that the best culinary experience in town was a far better option. Nepal's indian-inspired lunch buffet and a couple warm cups of chai wrapped up a mighty fine ride.
What would a Nepalese restaurant be without pics of Everest? 20,000' above  today's highest point
I stopped the clock @ Nepal's before the 6miles back to school 
50 some miles with 5,000' of climbing. It's still only 1/4th the distance of Dirty Kanza. I'll keep at it.


Friday, January 25, 2013

energy exchange

Students are back and with them have gone the days of sleeping in and riding whenever I wanted. But there are better ways to spend my time. Working with them on projects, like rebuilding rock walls on campus during our two day community service, not only reminded me of how much I love that work, but also how great it is to work here.

"Oh. You want to teach some students about masonry and fix some of our crumbling retaining walls?....sure, we'll give you a crew for a day." Sweet.

The results were nothing spectacular. We didn't have stone cutting implements or mortar, but rocks were re-stacked and walls were rebuilt. We gave back to this community/school that gives plenty of leeway and opportunities to succeed.
Wrong tool, right job. 
And to experience the world around us. For instance this winter ecology I'm co-teaching that is split between classroom learning and telemark skiing in Rocky Mtn national park.
There's a reason Trail Ridge Rd is closed in the Winter. 
The snow is limited up there but the wind sure isn't. So night rides continue on rollers. In that bike shop in my basement. Also a nice touch of working here.

Luddite. 
Long days beginning with "morning exercise" (a requirement for our students), continuing with tele-skiing, class prep and meetings, then rollers, has forced me to break my coffee fast. Not the best timed diet restriction I'll admit. It was meant to get it out of my system so come March at the True Grit I'll pour myself a cup and feel turbo boosted. A month and a half might've been a tad excessive for getting it out of my system, so maybe mid-february I'll try this out again.

Black Hole - Black Gold

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Philthadelphia

I'm about 75% sure that come August I'll be returning to the good ole Keystone state. There's just too much human capital there to not cash in on. That being said, my Fall racing schedule online wanderings have gone towards the Right coast.

Iron Cross came to mind first. Kuhn and Zach know how to throw a deathmarch together. I've done it several times and was never disappointed. Not even when I did it on a fixed gear....my taint had other thoughts of course.

Then I stumbled upon this juicy piece of news (albeit a month late). SSCXWC 2013 coming to Philly?! Take me to Independence Hall and sign me up! Ah, so many puns for that city, so little time.

I really have no idea how these three ring circuses happen, all I know is that the past several years sandbagging pro's have shown their alcohol tolerance and taken all the glory. I'm not sure how Philly PD would take to hundreds of whiskey shots gulped down in Fairmont Park.

As CX Mag rightfully asked, the east's uptightness is certainly a concern. Especially in a state that doesn't even sell beer in grocery stores.

I wish the promoters, mostly familiar characters, the best of luck putting it together. Costume brainstorming has already commenced.

SSCXWC 2012 Rccap. Valenti's beard not part of the costume. 

There once was a ride...

There was once a ride I used to ride
It was a lot of climbing and hard no matter how I tried
They called it Black Mo
Who's "Mo", I may never know

Now I have a new road to climb
Today I rode it and I took my time
Leaving Lyons I rolled along St Vrain
If I knew the elevation gain, I'd think it was insane

7,501 cumulative feet skyward
As the wind tried to blow me down, expletives could be heard
When I thought I was near the top
A sign reading "Estes Park 23miles" made me want to stop

Those last twenty rolled on forever
This was turning into quite the epic endeavor 
A stop for a smoothie in town left me stupid cold
I felt like a dumbass, but this story at least I told





Monday, January 14, 2013

putting my money where my mouth is

One of the races on my dream list was the Dirty Kanza 200 and this Saturday I woke up early to get my name on the quickly filled list. As I write this there's 21 more spots. Go ahead, sign up! It'll be a good time. I hope. 


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

new year new rides


New years was good. Next door neighbors opened their house, fired up their smoker, got a couple kegs and shared their whiskey.
in good company 
Riding into the park was even better today. Took 36 up to 34 and down to Devil's Gulch. No death march, but a great climb. The roads in the park are super smooth. Thanks for paying your taxes everybody! The wind here is horrible though. Takes the fun out of any descent; have to ride the brakes out of fear that a gust will blow me off the roads, many of which don't have any guards, and lengthy drops beyond the pavement. One such gust this ride hit me and it felt like a dog ran into my front wheel.

climbing up 36

coming back on Devil's Gulch
leg warmers, bib shorts, bib tights, wool socks. still cold. 
What really got me excited, besides that sore feeling of getting in a solid winter ride, was my Stanley that came in today. Bomb proof and bad ass. It's the little things. Christened it with a mexican mocha at the local cafe. Two hours later what remained was still piping hot. Apparently, it insulates even longer than this. I look forward to testing this claim.

Stanley Nineteen13

quick 'cross ride

Laying fresh bike tracks on old foot tracks. H Bar G Ranch. 

Looking down at Eagle Rock

cold descents called for nose protection. hence pink(penn state's original color) bandana

snow covered, off camber, downhill gonna get ya.  not as catchy as "rhythm". 

cold temps=short rides. short rides = time on rollers afterwards