Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Looks like I made it through Xmas in pretty much one piece. To celebrate I hunkered down in my fortress of solitude, slept 14 hours, cleaned compulsively and watched the majority of The Riches (on Hulu, for free, quite a good show actually). All in all, a pretty good day.
As far a biking goes, things are looking up. I haven't had to use the trainer for a while now as I have been braving the elements with evening outdoor rides. I've got a new headlight - Dinotte 400L - its as bright as hell and the batteries don't quit (batteries: it came with 2!). The only limiting factor to my outdoor riding is now road conditions (see: ice) and whether I'm feeling up to spending 20 minutes getting layered up before heading out the door. The cold has not really been that bad this week though, both yesterday and today the mercury almost reached 60. Not too shabby for late December.
Last weekend I took another swing at snowboarding. I think I'm actually getting better. I took 8 runs down the bunny hill, and on the last 2 I didn't even crash. Feeling cocky, I took out the nifty little map that shows all the runs. I picked out a green (easy) run that would get me down to the base area. On the bunny hill (Discovery Park) I had controlled my speed by making wide swooping turns down the field. I quickly found out that the route I had picked out to get back to base was less than a quarter the width of the hill I had been practicing on and a continual dogleg to the right. This was not good. I am better at turning left (lean back, facing downhill, if you fall, you fall back on your bum, no biggie) not turning right. The narrowness of the run gave me problems and I only found one way to effectively slow my speed: crashing (falling forward, not good). First one, I hit my head so hard when I got up the snow had turned a neon green, and so had everything else. Probably not good. After the visuals got back to normal my nerves were still shot. So every twenty yards or so I bailed and pulled a digger. Not the best way to finish, but now I know I need to get those turns a lot tighter before I do that again. On the plus side I've pretty much got over my fear of ski lifts, so I've got that going for me.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Well, this blog is nothing if sporadic. Lets see, since Leadville (bike wise) it's been pretty mellow. Still got in regular loops around Palmer Park on the Monkey and regular evening and weekend road rides on the road bike. It's December now and since my last post I've moved (all of 2 miles) destroyed one car and bought another car (same make/model, diff. year) started dating, and tried snowboarding (no "success" yet).

So, all in all, a pretty good Fall. The one key thing that I learned last year is that mountain biking is fun. Lots of fun, but it doesn't burn half the calories that road cycling does. So while my legs were strong as hell by the end of the season, my weight was still 10-15 heavier than I would have liked. I think I'll try a more 2:1 road cycling to mountain biking ratio in 2009, that should keep me a little lighter on the wheels.

Speaking of 2009, I've got a few cycling targets already on the horizon:

Trans Iowa

Buena Vista Bike Fest

MS 150

Leadville 50

Leadville 100

That's the big stuff, I think I might even try my hand at some crits and 'cross racing next fall. Because I can never get too much abuse and humiliation. Plus the best way to imporove is to get your ass handed to you.

For now, I'm trying to get as much outdoor riding in as weather permits. It's freezing out there, but I'm wrapped up well. I really can't stand the trainer. Stationary sweating just is not fun.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Leadville Silver Rush 50 recap

Last Saturday I raced in the Leadville Silver Rush Mountain Bike Race. I would exactly consider my performance "racing," but I did manage to survive it.

The Leadville Silver Rush is a 50 mile mountain bike race that is set up as an out and back. In other words the 3 climbs that top out at 12000 ft on the way out are the same as the 3 you see on the way back in. The route itself was not too technical, and while the jeep trails that constituted the majority of the route were quite rocky, the altitude, gradient, and length made this race so brutal. I managed to complete the 50 in just under 8 hours. For comparison, the overall winner finished in just 4:24! I was not last by any means, but there are several things that I could alter to bolster my chances next year:

- purchase a suspension fork: whoever said on the mtbr.com forums that you don't need suspension for the Leadville races was wrong. Riding a rigid bike over 50 miles of trail really took its toll on my back, shoulders, and triceps. Of course, had I been out for 6-6.5 hours that probably would have been lessened. Which takes me to my next point.

- run a lighter gear: this was really my biggest screw-up and probably cost me an hour or so of race time. Once again, going by what the forums up at mtbr.com suggested, I ran what I thought was a suitable gear for the race. All suggestions that I had read recommended a 32x18 gear ratio. That's what I thought I was running. That was not the case, as it now seems that I have a 34 tooth cog up front. This, stiffer than recommended gearing meant that I was pushing the bike up hill more than I could have been riding it, wasting energy and more importantly time. By spending more time on the trail, I wasted more energy, so that really compounded the suffering.

- No cargo shorts over spandex - Despite being more fashionably sound, and giving me somewhere to easily store energy bars, the cargo shorts had greater negative effects than benefits. The extra layer generated extra heat and friction, resulting in a rather uncomfortable posterior and some spectacular saddle sores. Next time I'm leaving the cargo shorts in the car.

Despite the above problems, I felt pretty good during the race. I could probably stand to lose 10 or so pounds, but having a bit of extra padding probably helped my stamina. Of course, most importantly, I managed to finished this beast of an event and nest year I should be able to improve on this years' performance. Of course now that means I'll have to race it again next year.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Rode the MS 150 in style. Did the whole thing on the single speed Bianchi and had a great time. About 175 miles in 2 days, with a total ride time of about 10 hours. Finished up on Sunday riding behind a guy on a 57lb. cruiser and his buddy who had an inflatable Godzilla strapped to a tag-along bike with a sound system blasting Queen, Dire Straits, etc. Weather was beautiful, ride was fun, and the beer tent was refreshing.

The next week I spent time mostly on the Monkey, and over July 4th weekend went out for a looonng mtn bike ride. What I was told would be a 3-4 ride turned into a 6 hour epic, including Gold Camp Road, Old Stage Road, Jones Downhill, Chutes and Jacks. Fantastic ride. Perfect prep for the suffering I'll see in Leadville in a couple of weeks. I've never scoffed down a burrito at Chipotle as fast as the one I had after that ride. Total elevation gain/loss - 4000 feet, all front-loaded with the fun parts at the end, where they should be, after being earned.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Ahh Friday. Nice and busy at the office today. Looks like we should make that all important profit this month after all.
Tonight I'm heading north to Broomfield. Got the MS 150 this weekend. I'll be traveling light - Bianchi San Jose and messenger bag full of gear - no check-in luggage. They've eliminated the century option for Saturday which is kind of a bummer, but I'll still be able to earn my patch on Sunday. And since I'll only be putting away 78 miles tomorrow, I'll get to the beer tent that much faster. Yay.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A little time has lapsed since my last visit. Still riding to work everyday, in fact the only day this year that I drove was the day following my visit to the E.R. to sew up a damaged elbow. And, since I injured myself riding the mountain bike and had to get the delivery van back to the office the next day anyway, I don't think that should count. Over the past couple of months I've gotten to ride plenty, work seems to be getting better (though a little slow), and Colorado Springs is still a resort town.

Just came from the Cowboy Breakfast. They closed down a good part of Tejon and had Army members from Fort Carson serving pancakes, scrambled eggs, o.j., and coffee. Not bad for $5. Still, I think I enjoyed the Mayor's breakfast that took place last month (for Bike Month). The food there was bagels, fruit, and scrambled eggs. The event had less of a right-wing tone and the food was free. Both tied for the people-watching entertainment that was provided.

Until next time...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Today did not go as planned.
There was a nice bike ride - I planned it. Lee, Lewis, Hurly, James, and George were all coming. We were almost ready to go when Steve from work called. Apparently, someone had slashed the delivery vehicles' tires. As per usual, Hurly was running late, I said I'd just go survey the damage. The rest of the guys would just head down to my office (a few blocks away) when everyone got there.
When I got there the damage was worse than I imagined. Three vehicles, 1 tire from one, three on the other two slashed and flat. What followed for me involved anger, stress and frustration and I still have no operable vehicles for Monday morning. I am going to take another crack at it tomorrow though. Oh yeah, and no ride.
On happier things, I've got the Bianchi back to a ride-worthy state. Lets just say I learned an important lesson about hub construction and I'll leave it at that. Also, this last week the Bike Crawl (all five of us due to inclement weather) stopped by the Rocket Room and saw something I didn't think existed: a good rock-a-billy band. Not that good rock-a-billy can't be good, but they have to play the music fast and tight and be good. Not too much of that around. Oh, and the guitarist was this Japanese guy named Tomo, dressed in full-leather and great on guitar. Mid-way through their set, Tomo sang a cover of La Bamba, absolutely screaming through it - awesome!
Oh, and I got a 20 tooth cog for the Monkey (to replace the 22). Should be in the 60's tomorrow, I'll have to make sure to extensively test out that cog.