Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Colorado Trail (Segment 1) + Indian Creek Loop

CT Segment 1
I was able to get out to the first segment of the Colorado Trail on Saturday. It had been a couple of years since I had ridden either this segment or Indian Creek Loop, so I wanted to try and hit them both. I spent the morning getting the GPX track loaded onto my Garmin, then headed out...Only to return a half-hour later for my shoes...I finally arrived at the very crowded Waterton Canyon trailhead, turned on the GPS only to find out the batteries were dead and I had no spares, unlocked the rear shock only to find out it had lost almost all of it's air, and thought "What else will go wrong today?" Oh well, did I really need the GPS? No. Could I ride my Dawg as a hard-tail? Yes. So I headed out. Oh, and I mixed my Gatorade too strong but didn't realize until I was already on the trail...What a way to start huh?
Before Lenny's Rest
The ride up the road was uneventful, just lots of people...as usual...but I figured it wouldn't be as crowded once I got past Lenny's Rest...So I didn't stop on top...However, it was unusually busy. Maybe a dozen groups of 2 or 3. I had forgotten how much climbing there was after the first descent from Lenny's. I took a picture and gave some encouragement to an unknown rider:
Unknown Rider
Finally got to the overlook, ate a peanut bar, a Gu, and watched other riders pass me by. My goal was to eat at the top before the downhill so that I could quickly turn around and head right back up with little to no rest. I thought about refilling/diluting my Gatorade from the South Platte but I really didn't want to carry that extra weight back up the hill. I checked my bag...still more than half full...So I bombed down the circuitous singletrack.
South Fk South Platte Overlook
Stopped just long enough to get the picture at Gudy's Bridge:
Gudy Bridge
Then headed right back up. I was proud of myself for not stopping. I had never climbed this hill and I was pleasantly surprised that it was pretty easy. Although there's lots of switchbacks, the climbing was fluid for the most part. I filtered some water back at the creek that parallels the trail about half way between Lenny's Rest and the South Platte trailhead.

Indian Creek was desolate in comparison to CT01, I only ran into 2 horses between Lenny's and the campground, and then only one group of bikers on the second half. I was starting to feel some fatigue at the campground so I took a couple Excedrin and Endurolytes...Within minutes, I was feeling good as new.
Indian Creek Loop
I was nervous that I'd miss the turnoffs for the trail since I was GPS-less but it was well signed and easy to follow.
Indian Creek Loop
It was about at this point that I realized my pedal was loose. Lateral play that I hoped wouldn't get any worse. I guess this is a typical problem with the eggbeaters. I've ordered a rebuild kit so I'm hoping to have it fixed in a couple of days.

I think it was roughly 45 miles, 8,000 ft of climbing, and it took 6:20. I was pretty happy with my efforts, and my calves have been hurting for the past couple of days. I know I didn't eat enough, but I think I kept up with my liquids. When I finished, I had almost no liquids left...I estimated that I drank somewhere around 150oz.
Sunday was flying and a family gathering.
Edge 540
And Monday I wasn't able to get Misty to shuttle me so I stuck around the house. Not all that disappointing considering the weather wasn't all that great

I'm thinking of starting at the South Platte trailhead next Sunday for a 'lollipop' ride around Buffalo Creek. Anyone interested?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Black Hills Date Set

We’ve decided on a date for our family vacation to the Black Hills (June 21-29th). It’ll be fun to see old friends, get some riding in, and go camping with my wife and daughter.

This will be my second attempt at trying to link the Centennial Trail with the Mickelson Trail. Last year Marshal and I tried it at the end of July but it was way too hot (~105*F) and we cut it short. I'm hoping that trying it a month earlier will keep temperatures in the *comfortable* range. I'll write more about the upcoming trip and last year's attempt in the next few blogs.

(I always like riding the Penny when I go up to see Tony. We like to do the 'old-timer' family portraits and the last time we were there we used the Penny as a backdrop. You get the funniest looks riding down Main Street on it...Or maybe it's just that I'm so funny lookin')

Sounds like Tony's thinking about closing up shop at Deadwood Bicycles...I know he's been struggling but it's always sad to see a friend's business dry up.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Another White Ranch Weekend

My daughter got bronchitis last week and was coughing so much that she had these horrible looking bloodshot eyes. I stayed home from work Thursday and Friday taking care of her. We watched some of her favorite movies (Star Wars, Lord of the Rings) and I introduced her to a new one (the original Indiana Jones). At least she was still smiling most of the day (the middle of the night coughing fits were a different story).
Brochitis and Bloodshot
Marshal had invited me out to the Kokopelli Trail but between Aspen being sick and a poster I had to make for an upcoming conference, I really couldn't leave the front range...Bummer...After reading his blog and others that rode it, I wish the circumstances had been different...Maybe next year...

Instead, I rode White Ranch on both Saturday and Sunday (GPX Saturday, GPX Sunday). I hadn't ridden all the trails yet this year and decided to not use my smallest chainring at all. I wanted to break-in my 'new-to-me' 7" discs and experiment with different shock pressures. I lowered the shock pressure before heading out and boy what a difference it made coming down Longhorn. Much more cushion and it made it easier to launch off the waterbars instead of rolling them. The brake pads took a while to seat with the rotors. I had to really work them on/off/on/off, front/back/front/back for the first few downhills so that they wouldn't overheat and squeal. By the bottom of Mustang they were feeling better but I could tell they still weren't up to full braking power.
White Ranch/Rawhide
Back to commuting to Boulder (GPX)...I'm starting to get more comfortable on the roads but the semis still bother me. Last night my nephews asked me to come and talk to their Boy Scout troop about biking...Funny, some of the questions they ask were hilarious. I told them about Marshal and I's experience last year of running across a black bear cub and their question was: "What do you think the mama bear would do to you if you ran right into her cub?"

I think this weekend I'll head over to Segment 1 of the CT and maybe add in Indian Creek Loop on Saturday, rest with the extended family on Sunday, and on Monday have my wife and daughter drop me off at Wellington Lake and meet me at Waterton Canyon. I really can't get myself to drive I-70 this weekend.

Monday, May 12, 2008

North Jeffco Open Spaces

I decided to head out on Saturday to do a longer ride. Nothing all too special, just some of my local favorites. The weather was cold and windy. I wore my jacket and leg warmers most of the day. Every once in a while on the climbs I'd have to unzip the pits and roll down the warmers.

I tried to start out the day with a little flying since the field is on my way to White Ranch, but when I got to the field and checked the wind speeds (>30mph) I decided to skip it.

White Ranch--Mustang:

White Ranch -- Longhorn:

The start of Chimney Gulch:


Bike path--notice the snow coming over the mountains? I thought I was going to get hit with it but everytime the clouds would leave the front range, they would quickly dissipate to nothing but a cold wind...

North Table Mountain with Denver in a graupel storm:

North Table Mtn--West side:
All in all, I had a good time even with the cold conditions. My goal for the day was to stay on the bike for more than 5 hrs and I ended up at a little over 7hrs. I purposely didn't look at the stats on the GPS until today. I thought I would be really disappointed...40 miles, 12K vert...no...12K? Really? I didn't believe it...No way...The GPS MUST be wrong...So I downloaded the DEM elevation instead of relying on the GPS...Even with a modest correction of only accepting elevation gain if it was greater than 2 meters the vert came out to 9K. Still much better than I had thought.(GPX)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Traffic Jams



Funny thing is these pictures were taken less than 100 yards from each other.

I think I was anxious to get back on the bike this morning. I was up at 5am in a really good mood and joking with my wife and daughter over breakfast. I purposely took it slow on the way into work and surprisingly it only added 10 minutes. Those 10 minutes really didn't matter in the big scheme of things but it really helped my overall attitude and feeling about the ride. I can't wait to ride home.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Nostalgic Flying

Flying had been a major part of my life when I was growing up back in Ohio. My dad was in the Air National Guard and he was an instructor on the weekends. My mom was also a pilot and a vivid memory from when I was 3 or 4 was watching her walk out to an airplane with a bulky parachute strapped to her back when she was taking aerobatic lessons. I used to spend many weekends with my dad at the airport when I was little. I would mostly sit in the pilots lounge while he taught and always try to score a ride from whoever happened to come in that day or I'd wander around the hangers to see who was working on their homebuilts. He quit teaching about the time I got out of grade school and we were really strapped for cash so we couldn't afford to get out flying all that often.
In my early teens, I begged my father for over a year to get us a remote control airplane. He was reluctant for a long time, but eventually I won him over. It wasn't long before he was hooked. It was a great father-son activity that really brought us together during my otherwise tumultuous teens. We even started flying full-scale again with the intention of getting me my license.
Unfortunately, life got in the way of my plans. My father was diagnosed with cancer in spring of 1990. This completely put an end to full-scale flying but we continued on with RC building and flying together throughout his remaining 9 months of life. After he died, I don't think I went flying even once by myself. It was always something we did together so it didn't feel right to go to the flying field by myself. I tried to keep the full-scale dream alive by enrolling in aviation maintenance school after high school. I made it a year before I realized it just wasn't for me and dropped out. I looked at pilot school too, but I just couldn't pull the trigger for some reason. After my uncle (dad's brother) also died of cancer less than a year later, I left home at the age of 19 with my destination being 'somewhere away from my troubles'.
Although I had thought about flying many times in the years since my life was turned upside down, it seemed like an unobtainable goal. It took my 6 year old daughter to light the match that would reignite the flame on Father's Day 2006 with a little AirHog like this:

I didn't realize how much I missed flying until she innocently re-introduced me to it. She had somehow found the tangled and tattered end of the thread that was my childhood and helped reconnect it to my life today.
Although my free time now has to be divided between biking and flying, I have no regets on exchanging hours spent in the saddle for hours spent at the sticks. It's finding the balance in life that's imporant to me now.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Commuting to work

In the past couple of weeks, I've started to commute to work on my bike again. (GPX)

It's funny...I took a job closer to home a couple of years ago and because I was always running errands I never really had a good opportunity to commute by bike. There were always trips to the hardware store, the post office, FedEx. etc. etc. that had to be done and since I was the only one in the office all of those responsibilities fell on me. They laid me off just before christmas so I went back to the company I was working with before and asked for my job back. Luckily they welcomed me back and now the commute is further (into Boulder).

I used to commute to Boulder quite a bit when I worked for them before. I took the bike paths, bike lanes, and shoulder of the road to get home. I changed my hardtail into a full-time commuter bike complete with slicks, then got an old used road bike. I enjoyed the riding but I've always hated riding on the road...It's the risk of getting hit by a car that bothers me. I had some good climbs along the way and would average about 15miles each way. I started having problems with my knee from always trying to beat my last trip time. I just had such a hard time not pushing myself to the limit everyday, every ride.

Since then, Boulder County Open Space has built a new trail (High Plains Trail) that parallels Hwy 128. I figured that I'd try using it on my commute and bypass a lot of the road that I was riding before. What a change! Although it's added about 20 minutes to my commute, the change has made a big improvement to how I feel about the commute. Now I've only got to spend 30 minutes on the road. But I've still got to watch how much I ride so that I can avoid that dreaded overuse injury. Thankfully, the weather has been helping me. The last two days were wonderful weather, the next two rainy, and then sunny again on Friday. Gotta love it when the weather cooperates.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Just getting started

Thought I'd start a blog today to store all those thoughts that come to fruition but all too often rot on the vine.