Ice Castle Ride

Hot Doggin' on Loveland Pass



Lucky enough to take another long ride this week – this time to Silverthorne to check out the Ice Castles, before the all melt into a sad little pile of slush. Got out of the house @ 6:00 am for the ride up HW40. My James Peak Barometer had a much better reading than last time. 
Ahh, that looks a little better

Made fairly good time to Loveland Pass – on the top by around 1:00pm – took the obl. dorky photo at the top, 
Obligatory Dorky Photo on Loveland Pass
 March 15th, 2012

The snowpack this year has been somewhat of a joke – I actually climbed the pass almost exactly a year ago and the Continental Divide looked a little but more like this, 
Loveland Pass (from Denver) March 16th, 2011
Just ain’t nothin’ fallin’ 
Made it to Frisco via Swan Mountain Rd to add a little more climbing, then around the res. back to Silverthorne, with tons of time to spare, before my friends met up with me for ice castles. Ice Castles!

Ice Castle!

They also seemed to be showing the effects of a extremely mild winter, being somewhat diminutive via melting. Aww, well – at least I got to be King of the Ice Castles!

I am the king of the Ice Castles!

Route – another 12,000 feet of elevation to add to my week – I’m at around 25,000 feet of elevation for the week. Sizeable. 


Daylight Savings Ride

A bit muddy on the road, today

Sunday’s ride proved to be a nice loop ’round the neighborhood, starting in Denver at around 5:50am. Starting with a swift ride to Golden with little traffic and summiting  the top of Lookout Mountain Road to see the sunrise and then, somewhat disappear as the bright start of the day seemed to starve itself into a constant morning gloomy overcast. 

Which isn’t a good sign, especially if you see dark clouds, over high, yet close mountains as I was observing over the James Peak Wilderness at the Genesee exit, 

 

Hmm, those storm clouds look a little foreboding...

If I could magnify the James Peak Wilderness area a little, those clouds would look a little more like this, 

Snow Squall in the James Peak Wilderness

(Or you try this larger version)

Which may give one pause, if they’re riding towards them but for me… eh, what the Hell. 

Gateway to Central City

The snow didn’t truly start falling until about three miles up the Central City Parkway and at that point, well, what’s the point of going back? It would have been three miles of going down a slippery road in the snow. It made much more sense to go the rest of the way to Boulder, by way of Nederland. 

Hey, it's those clouds, again

Central City/Black Hawk is a curious place, as cycling in the town is illegal. Cautiously, I made it down the slippery streets, thumbing my nose at the “no bicycles” sign and then equally cautiously avoiding the attention of the parked police SUV, not 100 meters down the road. 

Damn if it didn’t snow until the turnoff to Golden Gate Canyon, 10 miles away. Then it was just wet and muddy and everything was downhill, for the most part. And cold, as I misjudged the forecast, I didn’t bring cold-weather clothes, I brought “Spring-like conditions” clothes. Coasting downhill and drenched sure brings the shivers and I couldn’t pedal without getting fairly close to cramping up. Kinda fun. 

My first stop of the day was Happy Trails Bike Shop and Coffee shop in Nederland. I parked my bike outside and nonchalantly walked in as if I was a regular. I took a pit stop in the bathroom and only then saw what I looked like, 

Coffee Shop Portrait #2

I came out of the bathroom, apologizing profusely, although the barista wasn’t taken aback from it all. It’s… somewhat of a casual town. 

The plan after Nederland was to find Sugarload Road, as it has one of the steeper downhills in the Front Range. Mistakenly, I took a turn East on a road that was about 300 meters before my designated turnoff point and missed the road entirely, but found a nice dirt road that lead to lonely pocket of space and then a crazier switchback road back down that connected to Boulder Canyon Road, so the day was not lost. More mystery waiting to be discovered at a later date. 

Riding down Boulder Canyon Road wasn’t really on my scheduled to-do, as I was worried about weekend traffic and yeah the reality of it all: hurling down a 2 lane highway, with my feet up on my bike’s frame, as the cranks of my fixed gear whizzed around freely below them like a pair of murderous weaponry awaiting my feet to slip into its clutches and having the whole machine with me in tow going from 40mph to 0mph in a little more than it takes to yell out, “Share the Road” towards a Chevy Suburban with Texas plates, whilst I share more than my requirement of blood sacrifice to the bike gods.

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“I’m getting too old for this”, I was thinking to myself, but I again tempted fate and had safe passage this day. The only thing left was to get back to Denver and the only real obstacle is the hill on McCaslin, clocking in at around two hundred!, 

uh, feet. 

But it has a special place in my heart, as it was one of my First Great Hills, I was able to topple, on my bike and the gateway between Denver and Boulder. Summitting that hill made me feel like I could do anything and it was the same today. Granted, I had nearly gained a total of 13,000 feet already, so tired legs made things more of a grin and bear sort of deal. 

After that, it was a easy spin back home and all the burritos I could eat. 

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A Bike Up Mount Morrison

Packing along a Bike

Packing along a bike, just in case…

The Arizona Trail Race 750 is a race across Arizona, from the Mexican/Arizona border to the Arizona/Utah border, with a portage, down, across and back up the Grand Canyon. Being a Nation Park, no bike riding is allowed on the trail, so you need to somehow carry your bike. So, how do you do that, 

for 24 miles

The AZT 750 is a challenge I desperately want to do, but I may have to simply, “play along” this year, as funds are simply not around to high-tail it to AZ for a week or so. But, there’s always a small chance I can get something together and be at the start line. 

So Monday, I started playing along with my pack and attaching a bike to it and hiking up a short trail to the summit of Mt. Morrison – a small foothill directly west of Red Rocks Amphitheater. Doing so is easy enough – my 38L Osprey pack has enough attachment points to haul most anything, including a bike. One option is to actually do just that – already have the pack and no real modifications need to be done. But, do I really want to lug this type of pack 3/4 across Arizona to use it exactly 24 miles? Maybe, maybe not.

The alternative may be to find a smaller pack, but larger than a Camelback-type pack, that has enough attachment points. You’re going to suffer more with a smaller pack though, while hiking. Bicycles are unwieldy beasts when lashed to a pack like this – the frame juts out from the sides and getting everything balanced out is just impossible. 

The smaller the pack, the more unweildy it’s going to be. Perhaps one could take a larger frame, cut the bag part clear off – you’re not going to need such carrying capacity for a ultra-enduro race, leaving just the frame and then retrofit different attachments on (big fat velcro straps from the top and bottom tube of the bike frame?) and perhaps fashion a smaller, simple pack onto the larger frame. It would keep the bike frame itself as close to your body as possible, alleiving some of the awkwardness of the setup. The finished product would be Frankenstein’s Monster ugly, but it may be the best ticket in town. A largish, but ripped-ta-hell pack could be salvaged and used this way. Who knows? 

Some hastily shot photos of Mt. Morrison, right before sunset, 

Summit of Mount Morrison

Summit of Mount Morrison

Some 46-odd miles, + the hike up Mt. Morrison (can’t be more than a few miles) in 6 hours. Fun had by all (well, me). 

It is sort of magically interesting to unlash a parted-out bike, put a few things together and roll away from the trailhead, oddly enough. Not sure if I’d call the actually hiking part, “fun”, as the bike frame loved to cling to whatever branches were close by and make scrambling a little more death-defying and tight squeezes needing an alternative route, but it’s pretty doable. I may look and see what sort of lifts I can do during gym-time to help support this sort of awkward weight. I’m thinking dead lifts and even more core work. 


Weeks of 2/12 – 2/18 + 2/5 – 2/11

This is Tom Danielson, a pro road cyclist, height: 5’10”, weight: 130lbs: 

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In this photo (found here), he’s breaking the Lookout Mountain Hill Climb record at an incredible 16 minutes, 3 seconds. Super light bike, skin suit, shoe covers.  

That’s really fast. Lookout Mountain Road is the closest hill to climb as the crow flies. ~4.3 miles, 5 to 6 percent grade, 1300+ feet of elevation gain. As Colorado hills goes, it’s small, but the grade is about what you find around here.

One of the problems of being inherently lazy and not really very focused on winning things, or really competing, is that it’s hard to stay motivated and focused. Sometimes, this coalesces into taking large rides at a put-put speed, which is fine, but if this lazy hunk of bones, also strangely has the interest in getting faster, I find I hit a performance wall. What to do about it?

So I purchased a watch, that has a stopwatch (sorry, a chronometer) and I’ve been doing research on some of established races and routes around town, to get a feel on how fast the courses can be done. The Lookout Mountain hill climb is an easy one to find, as there’s a race every year, from the bottom pillars, to the turnoff to Buffalo Bill’s grave (supposedly). Usually clear enough to safely go up and down it during the winter, it’s a lazy haunt to do. 

(If you start your climb from downtown Golden and end it near the Nature Center (like moi), you can give yourself a few hundred more feet of elevation gain and a mile or two more road. Some people start at the pillars and end at the turnoff, never to go further. It’s strange to me!)

One day last week, I attempted to break Mt. Danielson’s record. 

Well, not really, but I wanted to see how I stacked up. My bike probably weighs twice Tom’s – I’m sure his was 6.8kg (the UCI limit) – mine is twice that. He’s got gears, and I don’t – just a 2:1 fixed wheel. And my clothing is so Bad News Bears grungy  right now. And my goals are different. But I can’t think of time I’ve ever, (after literally 100+  – hundreds?) times up, timed myself going up this thing, so this week, I wanted to establish a baseline to work from.

Knowing I will never reach a time of 16:03, I can at least use it to establish the Fastest Known Time and work out some sort of Rate of Improvement (if I do improve). Or at least a countdown to Doctor D up there. There’s math involved and pretty graphs I could make, that will (probably) elude my attempts at creating them. 

So out with a slow bike I went. I did the climb and timed from the historical start and stops: 

#1 –  28:21

#2  – 27:11

#3  – 31:20

(Repeat #3 was slowed down by getting waved down to stop by a flagger, in a construction zone!) 

A little less than half as fast! A good place to start! Minutes could be removed from this time with a better bike, but better bikes aren’t what I’m going to get. We’re going to upgrade the rider, and then eventually the bike, come summer. I have 55 lbs (and one inch in height) on Tom, which is incredible – we don’t even a similar body type.

Sobering. Gives you a feeling of how fast the pros go. I also knew where I was on the road at 16:03 in my little time trial, and I know if I’m improving, if I can get past that spot in the road, before Tom’s time is reached. Something like a nice halfway point split or something. 

In general though, these past two weeks I’ve been riding my bike and going to the gym and doing a terrible job keeping tracks of mileage or even specific rides. But, hazily: 

Did around 80 miles in one cold Saturday, with tons of moisture in the air, given one epic Beard-cicles, 

beardcicles.jpg

Did those hill repeats (Lookout Mountain x3) and the next day, rode around Cherry Creek Res from REI in 1:56:56, which isn’t too far from my own personal best, oddly enough. It’s terribly difficult to understand if one’s legs are actually wasted from the previous day’s efforts, or merely a little stiff, shall we say. I thought I’d be much slower than I was, as I set out to do a, “recovery ride”. 

Gym time(s)  were a mix –  one day I spent over 3 hours – half off that aerobic, bench press is getting better, pullups are getting better – 

Getting better. Still having trouble getting up in the morning. I’m sincerely a night owl. Now that the ice is off the roads, may just take some rides in night time. 

Bike got a minor upgrade of a new back wheel. Managed to crack my second Salsa Delgado Cross wheel, so Salvagetti re-laced it to a Mavic A-719, which they defend that I’ll have a much harder time destroying. Time will tell. Damn hard enough to get the track cog off, 

wheeeel.jpg

Nick, Scott and Justin showing good use of extra leverage. 

The last bummer was finding my rear tire’s sidewall getting a cracked in places – enough to give you that rhythmic BUMP, of the tire being deformed from the pressure of the inner tube and looking for a way out. And four flats on Friday in my front wheel, which is never good. On the fifth inspection and finally coming to terms that there’s nothing sharp in the tire, I found instead that the tire’s sidewall is slit – almost as if someone took a knife to it. Two inner tube patches holding it at the moment, but I’ll have to replace that soon, too. Damnit. 


1/29 – 2/4 Week Summary

This past week, I rode a paltry 104 miles in total, went to the gym once and, uh, snowshoed for 11 1/2 hours. Plus the usual bicycle commuting. And I’m a masked vigilante in the wee hours. Ok, the last part isn’t true. 

The only ride I did was around Cherry Creek. Made it from and back to REI in 1:52, which is only 10 minutes less than my personal best on the route, even though my the bike I’m riding is heavier, with slower tires, handlebars that aren’t very comfortable and the course is slightly longer, with two new streets that must be crossed on a light because of construction – and I wasn’t doing a, “I’m throwing up” pace, although I was trying to give it a good go. So that’s nice. 

Gym was good, upped (again) my bench press by 10lbs, now getting to the amazing limit of 145lbs. What’s funny is this really is my limit – I’ve lost that much strength. Bench press is my worst list of anything, so I’m not surprised. I’ve found my style in lifting has changed, as I lift much more up and down, instead of having my arms go out to the side – much as if you were doing flys or something. That sort of position seems to make my shoulder tinge a little too much. Incidentally, I’ll be starting chest dips this week without any assist, as it seems to be one of my strongest, uh, “lifts” (now riddle me that). Didn’t have time to try for my 5,000 meters in 20 rowing-athon, but I guess I’ll try that soon enough. 

Not sure what the weather will come to this week. As I type it’s snowing again – just a flurry, but it’ll make riding a little dicey for another day. I’m apprehensive about buying some rollers to ride indoors, as that just sounds so so so silly and I don’t want to really buy anything new at the moment to try to fit into my life. If the weather isn’t behooving of cycling, perhaps another day in the gym, doing something boring, or go, I dunno, road running. The avy danger in the mountains has been a little hectic, but I haven’t been able to get much luck getting a ride out into the mountains, anyways. I’m certainly not about to buy a car just to do that.  

A little weirded out at my mileage, but I feel pretty comfortable of my endurance just the same. March saw me do 1200 miles+ and that doesn’t sound too far off to do again, or better it, if conditions allowed. Maybe that’s me just blowing smoke. 

Maybe this week, I’ll try some bicycling to trail runs, as long as the paths are pretty clear. Riding long distances on the road isn’t too good of an idea. Just today, I was riding from the house and encountered a car that was pretty much blowing through a stop sign and about to blow through me. They finally did stop, after the sign. I yelled at them and pointed at the sign, where in they yelled that they didn’t stop, as I was in their blind spot. I didn’t know what that meant, but if their blind spot is right in front of them, they may want to retire from driving altogether. 


Sobo/Green/Bear Counter Clockwise

On Topless of Green Mountain

On topless of Green Mountain. Relax, people can summit this thing in 30 minutes.

This week’s of bicycle riding was interrupted by some snow falling in the Front Range, much to the chagrin of the rest of the thirsty state, which hasn’t seen as much snowfall as is anticipated. Snow didn’t let up until around Saturday, so I got out of bed as early as possible, waited for the late bus and got to the Chautauqua trailhead at around 9:30 am. 

My plan was sort of wait-and-see what the conditions were going to be in the trails, as I was guessing that Boulder would have much more of a dumping than Denver and that turned out right. In the back of my mind, I wanted to bag Bear, South Boulder and Green Mountain again, but didn’t know if I had enough time to do so. Energy usually isn’t a problem. 

To make things a little more in my favor, I decided to go for Green first, to get an easy summit, right away, before the long walk to Bear Peak. If Green is a good, it would give me time to break any trail needed for Bear and if Bear is summitted, South Boulder is so very close, so hell, why not? The only other question mark in the air is how to get down from South Boulder. The Shadow Canyon Trail would not be fun to break, as it’s steep and with failing light could be a fairly long, slow slog all the way back to Chautauqua. So whatever, not like I had anything else planned for the day. 

Green was easy enough, ton of people at Chautauqua, wearing snow shoes where snowshoes are not required. Toys. I brought mine along, not knowing if trails would be trenched yet. Green was an easy hike and took maybe 2 hours in soft snow. It didn’t take long to almost immediately strip down to nothing but a polypro top and bottom + running pants and enormous gaitors. Passed a snowboarded on the trail that remarked that there was too much powder. You meet strange people on trails. Take myself, for example.  

Up Green and down the West side – now wearing snowshoes, a little concerned that this area was closed for the annual raptor breeding. Ranger wasn’t trenched out at all, so I sort of, well, lost the trail immediately and just made my own damn way down. Quite pretty. Got diverted into following a creek and was worried I was going to get my feet drenched if I stepped in the wrong place. It was getting pretty obvious that not having waterproof pants on was drenching my feet anyways. The gaitors seemingly not being able to affect the moisture coming down from the pants, itself.

 

Descending Green Mountain

Green’s West side, with Bear and South Boulder Peaks in the background. 

But fun in tons of snow going down gets a little frustrating when the terrain levels and I found myself at the bottom of Bear Canyon, after bushwhacking my own path down. The question now was – do I go North, or South to make it to the intersection of Bear Peak West Ridge Trail? I took a few steps North, but going was-a-slow and it seemed peculiar that I’d be the first to break trail on something pretty accessible, so I hit it South and was greeted with the intersection sign up to West Ridge. Word. 

And happily, it looked like just one other person took the initiative, so my luck panned out that I had a trail, however wrong or correct, to follow. The trench-digger did a damn good job, up until the steep approach to Bear Peak and it sort of went all-ta-hell. Well, maybe just not my style, I didn’t have to follow it, or anything. Nice work taking the long way to Bear though, unknown trench-hero!

Getting to the top at around 3:00pm and with a small crowd at the summit, I began the process of taking off most of my clothes in waves, to get as much wet stuff off and put more dry stuff on. Thankfully, I brought a change of almost everything – including socks. I’m pretty sure I got one younger dude a little huffy at my apparent lack of summit manners. And I mean it was a funny sight with them dressed in all sorts of technical gear to the nines and me trying to get a polyester top with a screen print of, “PUT THE FUN BETWEEN YOUR LEGS” over some triathlon logo to play nice with a 15 year old Helly Hanson (stinky!) poly pro top. And then, the boots and socks come off. 

My boots. Damn wet enough that water pooled at the bottom and  trickled down, if I tipped the boot. My double pair of socks were wrung out as best as possible and this made things a bit more comfortable, as hiking in them for the past few hours was a practice of enjoying the sloshing feeling. Thought about changing socks as well, but decided to use this instead for insurance later that day. Amazing, no blisters. Amazing feet, I say. 

Chatting with one of the people on top, the inevitable happened, as he asked where I had come from. 

“Uh, well started at 9:30am and came up from on top of Green!”

“Ooooooh, you’re one of THOSE ultra people”

I decidedly (really!) am not and explained it was my Beard: the Beard wants what the Beard wants and I am helpless to do anything, except follow what its desires. He seemed to understand Beard logic.

Taking time to put things into perspective, it seemed not a bad gamble to try for at least the saddle between Bear and South Boulder, as the going is relatively easy, even if the trail isn’t broken. If it is, I could think about gaining South Boulder and if Shadow isn’t broken, I can just retreat back to Bear and go down Fern Canyon. Not exactly what I wanted, but not a bad consolation. 

Easy going to the saddle and to my delight, Shadow was trenched and a nice path trenched to South Boulder, 

Which ended inexplicably, not too far afterwards. 

A little confused as why someone would stop trying for the peak, so close to it, I started to carry on, until I realized how hard the going was a gettin’. 

And then, I just kept going. It was slow going – the snow was up to the tops of my poles, but it was safe going: Retreat just meant retracing my steps in an already-trenched trail, so what the hell. And you know, the allure of being the only one up on South Boulder, on a Saturday sounded good to me. 

Happily, I got out of the snow drifts of the trees and into the rock garden near the summit and traded mounds of snow for hidden leg breaking rock crevaces, which I navigated just fine. Now around 5:00pm, my near sunset views were subdued by angry-looking clouds from the west, but the view was nice enough, regardless. 

South Boulder Peak

And I was a little more subdued after six more hours of breaking trails

Nothing comes for free and by this time, the light was failing and I had a long way to walk to repay safe passage to the three peaks. 6 or 7 miles back to Chautauqua, in the dark, in the snow? Had a fine time of it, jumped on the bike and rolled down Baseline to the first restaurant I found, which happened to be a Taco Bell. Grabbed a noisy bus back to Denver and home. 

About 11 1/2 hours of fairly brisk walking. It’s amazing that the Fastest Known Time is more around two hours, thirty minutes and that includes a few extra miles to the lower  peaks of Flagstaff and Sanitas. It took three hours, thirty minutes less last time I did this same walk, with half the snow on the ground. I’m am unapologetically not a runner, but it’s fairly humbling to think of how much time it takes to do something, while thinking your keeping a brisk pace. 

Panorama from South Boulder Peak

Pano from the top – here’s it is, much larger.


Help me find an amazing charity to race for.

I’m trying to plan my Summer Adventures and like last year, I’d like to do a Very Big Ride (maybe the Tour Divide again?) and also help out a Really Good Cause. Last year’s fundraising was a huge success and I’ll post more details about that (finally!) soon. I’d like to again be successful!

The perfect potential people to help will allow me to ride independently on my own race, as races like the Tour Divide do not exist themselves to sponsor charity organizations – they stand alone, simply as a challenge by anyone to undertake. The fundraising I will do will be very DIY – it’s to benefit my own personal ride and my own personal choice of charity. 

The three big things that need to be covered for anyone doing these types of races are: Transportation to the start and from the end of the race, equipment that needs to be purchased before and during the race and food consumed during the race as well. To consider is that these types of races are long and the racer is not working while taking on the challenge. As someone who’s self-employeed, the major responsibility of taking this type of time off is mine alone (ie: I don’t get paid vacation time). Other than these types of expenses, I’d like to give the rest away to a charity. 

If this is of interest to you, please contact me directly (my email address is listed on the right hand side of this site)

Thanks! 


1/22 – 1/28 Week Summary

Biker Jims

Biker Jims – a well deserved reward after a 100 mile ride

This week was filled with personal disappointment as I only really got in one solid ride on Saturday – a 100 miler up High Grade, to Evergreen, N on Kerr Gultch and down Lookout Mountain Road, back home via the Clear Creek Trail to South Platte Trail. 

I could cite quite a few excuses, but it comes down to laziness. I didn’t mean to weekend-warrior it, but I filled my days with too many late starts to get in anything I’m proud of. Something to continue to work on. Happy to put a century on the board, and a tough one at that, but to meet my (as yet publicized) personal goals, I need to be doing two rides like this a week, plus other activities. Perhaps I’m too harsh with myself and my personal commitment to the bicycle.

Total Weekly Mileage: 156 miles

The ride itself was fun and when I get a chance, I’ll post up a map and elevation profile, as it’s a route worth repeating, as it does fill that magic, “100 miles” from a route that starts in Downtown Denver and features some good climbing. High Grade Road is a foray off of Deer Creek Road, which is what I did last weekend. High Grade is well, steeper and quite a bit longer, dropping you off again at HW 285, but much farther SW, near the town of Conifer. Luckily, you do not have to (nor would you really want to) take HW 285 back, as there is Co. Rd. 73, which is a solid road to ride on. Taking it N, it’ll give a nice declination and a well-deserved rest after High Grade. High Grade itself is a good challenge to take before taking Squaw Pass to Echo Lake at elevation 10,600 feet and the start of the Mt. Evans Highway, if one was to train to reach that. 

At the junction of Co. Rd. 73 and the Evergreen Parkway/Co. Rd. 74, I decided to take 74 West to Kittredge and hang a left onto Kerr Gultch Road, which is a classic route back to HW. 40 and again down Lookout Mountain Rd and a swift loss of elevation back out of the Front Range. 

Wanting to get some more mileage in, I decided to simply take the Clear Creek Trail to the South Platte Trail, which meet up in the middle of nowhere, without any real reason, instead of making a sensible choice of networking near downtown Denver. The positive to me is that it added up a few 10-15 miles to my ride and I pulled into downtown Denver and Biker Jim’s to treat myself to a fancy hotdog lunch. 

So, not making any of my goals for this week makes me a little hesitant about making any goals for this next week. I foolishly left some gear at the start of Deer Creek Canyon, so I may just scoot back up there to see if I can’t retrieve it, but that’s something I should have also done today, but again, sleep got the best of me. 

Mentally, I was pretty wiped from the ride and spent the rest of the day lounging around. Physically today (Sunday) I don’t feel terribly sore, so my legs are probably slightly ahead of my, well, head. I’m not sure how to mentally prepare for long rides, except perhaps how I can keep from getting exhausted that way with time. 


1/15 – 1/21 Week Summary

Ashton-Flagg Ranch Rd, June 22nd, 2011


June 22nd, 2011, between Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park on the Ashton-Flagg Ranch Road with a considerable amount of snowpack still lingering.

At around 9:00pm last night, I was rolling through downtown, when a drunk dude threw something at me. 

I’m not into this. 

I quickly locked my brakes and came to a screeching halt, to have a word with this man. And of course, I stopped, right where a patch of dirty slush-snow was hiding and promptly lost control and tumbled. Now humiliated, I get back up and just ask the dude, to just please not throw anything at me. And repeat that a couple of times. They didn’t really understand what the big deal was – it was a small bunch of roses. They turned the corner and laughed and laughed. 

Without much ado, I rode to the end of the block, turned right three times and met up with the same group of dudes, got the one’s attention and quickly flung the U-lock that’s always in my back ass pocket, right at the kid’s face, yelling, “JUSTICE!”, while pedaling quickly away, his mouth now a sea of blood and broken bits of teeth and gum. 

In my mind. In the real world, I turned and kept going on my way, embarrassed at myself and enraged at stupid drunk dudes. I had a few miles to go until my destination, where I cooled off. It’s somewhat humorous to think this was all because of throwing flowers at a stranger, but I’ve got enough things to worry about, riding downtown on a Saturday night, where drunk people aren’t just walking down the sidewalk, but are also sharing the road with me. Messing with my focus can still be dangerous and I’m not the most well-put together person and I have a temper that I attend to – that needs to be attended to. I’m probably modest to a fault, as long as you show respect back. I guess. 

A stranger revelation soon entered my head though. As someone that devotes a good chunk of time to being, dare I say, “athletically active”, I’m a pretty tiny guy – my body doesn’t get bigger and more developed from the workload, it simply becomes much more conditioned. I really work primarily on conditioning myself to go farther and perhaps a little faster, which places you a little on the light side of the scale. I like climbing mountains and that calls for a fairly wiry body. After 7 hours riding, then a shower and then some food stuffed in me, a ride through the city can be tiring and I don’t really give the illusion of someone you shouldn’t mess with. And maybe because of this, I am.

Or maybe the guy and his gaggle of dudes were admirers of cycling and this svelte guy and that’s why the roses were thrown. If so, I’m touched, but there’s better way to show a man’s attraction, sexual or not to another man. Regardless!

  • Sunday: Fixed gear ride around Chatfield Res ~ 50 miles
  • Monday: Rest!
  • Tuesday: Gym!
  • Wednesday: Rest!
  • Thursday: Fixed Gear ride up Lookout Mt. Rd – ~40 miles
  • Friday: Rest!
  • Saturday: Mountainous fixed gear ride up Deer Creek to Summit of Mt. Lindo, Red Rocks and Lookup Mountain Rd. – 75 miles

Total Mileage: (including commuting + errands) ~235 miles

No hiking/running this past week – weather, except for Monday (if I remember) was fairly exceptional. “Errands” sure do add up. I don’t own a car, so every day that’s a rest day is what you may term a “recovery ride” and it’s easy to chalk up 10 miles to and from downtown from where I currently live, every day. I try to imagine the relationship with real, actual athletes and their cycling and how it’s almost this separate thing they may do, after getting home from work or driving to a trailhead or something. It’s really a different thing, I guess. 

All my rides for a few months have just been on a Surly Crosscheck, outfitted with some riser bars and cross or “aggressive” touring tires, as well as lights and fenders and lately, a nice cush seat and a speedo. It would make Kent Peterson proud at its mutt-ness and makes the cool kids cringe when I roll up. I’m waiting for one to challenge me to a sprint or something and explain to them that a sprint, to me, is to the state line. I mean, they’ll look at me funny, but I’m used to funny looks. 

Riding a 2:1 gear ratio up the relatively mild 5% grades you find on front range roads seems doable in my current conditioning. I somewhat feel a bit of worry about my knees, but they currently haven’t been giving me any painful protests. I find though, that my pedaling style is heavy on the pull-back, where my hamstrings take on a good portion of the workload and instead of pounding and grinding up the mountain, I still try to focus on spinning the cranks, my calfs and hamstrings very noticeably doing some work. If I wasn’t so lazy, I’d probably make a half-decent runner. 

Gym time was something like: 

20 minute warmup on bike

Stretching, walls sits, planks

Attempt at 5,000 meters on the rowing machine in 20 minutes (failed! ~4,815 meters though. Elusive goal!) 

Shoulder work: Bench press up to 135lbs from 105lbs, dips w/assist

And some pull ups.

Gym work has been partly in attempt to work on my injured shoulder. 135lbs is 2, 45lb plates and the bar, which is what I’m actually accustomed to warming up on, but it’s rather now about as much as my shoulder can take before the weird twinge gets to be a little too temperamental. Still, it’s 10lb improvement from the last time I tried a bench press, which has been the prevailing positive arch in this storyline, so I’m happy. Also threw in dips, which has always been a much more stronger “lift” for me and has seemed to be much less aggravating to my shoulder, to my surprise. Still assisted with a little counter weight, but felt good to do something else for a change. 

Happy with the mileage, much more than last week, albeit the weather was better and there wasn’t an 8 hour hike in the middle of it, during a snow storm. Next week? Keep the mileage hovering where it is, maybe more “Active” days, if at the cost of longer rides, as everything is now pretty much snow/ice free in the lowlands and the mountains are getting dumped on and the avy-danger is somewhat dubious.

 Maybe a few “hill” repeats up Lookout Mt. Rd – ~6,000 feet of elevation gain can be had in a day’s ride. Which is rad. I may try another run, or even get me some new runnin’ shoes, as the shoes I currently have are running out of time they’re worth having. Think I bought this current pair almost 8 years ago? Goes to show, I don’t much run that much. But, I’d like to treat my feet/knees/everything right, so maybe pick something new, out. 


Mt. Lindo – 75 miles

Mt. Lindo

Yesterday, I was researching untested terrain to ride my bike up to. I was looking for mountain roads I have yet to try out, which is slim pickin’s in the winter time, as road conditions are going to suck anywhere with surprise! ice on the roads and inclement  weather means a snowstorm, not just a little rain shower. Local hills are fine for “training”, but I just wasn’t looking forward to doing hill repeats on Lookout Mountain Road. The weather promised (and delivered) to be exceptional, so I got my lazy bones out of bed at a decent time and headed up Deer Creek Road on the fixed gear to see what I could find.

In my sights, next to, “Tiny Town”, was what I collected was some sort of cemetery on top of a mountain. Off the main road, seems that the track turns to dirt. A large gate seems to block the entrance and I didn’t know if the place was open for the public, but I was down, so I investigated.

Weather was really perfect for the middle of January and quite a few people were out on sadly neglected bikes and fancy new kits received on Christmas. My getup these days is decidedly less fancy – just an old gym top and SWRV knickers that have every single stitch failing – including the crotch zipper which is broken (well, ALL the zippers are broken), held together only with a extra large safety pin. My old school, “mountain bike” shoes are on their last… leg. Too bad, they’ve been a treat for the past few months. I kind of like looking completely not put together, riding a bike that doesn’t coast up gentle mountain roads. Sort of fits my style. 

Hadn’t ridden up Deer Creek in a while and even less lately on a fixed machine, but it was pleasant, with only a few areas that go over 5%. To my delight, the gate at the start of the mountain climb was open and promised to be so until 4:00pm, so I rode up. I nice switchbacked road, reminiscent of mountain pass roads in Europe, where the track is narrow, steep and fun. 

Mt. Lindo, Sat.

I doubt it gets much traffic from sporty bike riders, as the dirt trail will turn off most roadies, I’d reckon. 

Topping out was a little strange, as the actual cemetary area was spread out in different plots and designs. A mausoleum area, and several fairly standard plots here and there and then just – strangeness. There were plots just spread out – basically, wherever the family wanted the gravestone to be – it was. You could literally trip over the stones while strolling about. 

After the ride down, I hightailed it to Red Rocks and then up HW 40 to Lookout Mountain Road and down. Got stuck behind a car, which was somewhat expected. You can, with ease, go much faster than a car going down this road, as the speed limit is only 20 mph and cyclists will seldom follow this (I don’t follow this), but cars seem to be a little more thoughtful. It’s also due to more maneuverability that a rider on a “performance” bike can get out of his machine, when compared to a much wider car on these twisty roads. 

A few cyclists caught up to me, dressed fairly “pro”.  They were, no doubt quite adept at riding their machines and their thighs told a story of much training. Within seconds of catching the car and me, they passed the car as, sure enough, another car was coming up. They all avoided the oncoming car without incident, but their aggressive style failed them on the very last switchback. As I passed them, still stuck behind my pacing car, you could see that at least one of them had crashed, hard and wasn’t exactly walking correctly. His very fancy bike was in a few pieces and there were other cyclists keeping things from getting run over. 

I’m not one to really advocate safety – I’m going down the same hill, with my feet on the nubby downtube shifter bosses, as my cranks whirl wildly below me – a highly contentious position give the high center of gravity and lack of fault-proof points of contact with the bike: a slip of my foot will send it down and straight into the spokes of my front wheel and – well, you could imagine what would happen, next. 

But, without some sort of communication with that car blocking the way, there’s not many instances where I’d just blow ahead of it. Many times, a car will move waaaaay to the right, or wave you over and then I feel good about things, but a car driving down something like this road, in the middle of a saturday could be someone out for a weekend ride and isn’t quite as intimate with each meter of pavement and could perhaps do something rash when the unexpected cyclist gets in their way (like swerve into them). Plus it’s fucking rude. 

I guess maybe the lesson is to know thyself and thy machine and perhaps think that maybe conditions on the road aren’t the best in the middle of January. That’s really all.