Thursday, November 25, 2010

Cross at 9,000+ feet...

This is what cyclocross looks like at over 9,000 feet of altitude: Aspen Lodge CX! The course was super technical and fun, but rolled my rear tire off the rim twice. I popped it back on both times and nursed it through the turns and still enjoyed myself. The air was indeed rare, and the lack of oxygen sends one's heart rate through the ceiling.

Below, in the distance, that's the North East face of Long's Peak, a.k.a. The Diamond.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Wycolo Ralleye

I realize I haven't been the best blog-keeper of late, but I will try to update you on this summer's happenings in reverse chronological order. I've been meaning to share this stuff for a while and I just haven't had the motivation to sit down and do it.

I'll start with this past weekend's Ralleye ride! A group of bike enthusiasts in Fort Collins hosts a series of "Ralleye Rides" through the winter. These rides are long, all-day events, usually covering a fair distance on a combination of paved road, dirt road, and even a little trail (and snow later in the winter!). To me, it seems to be a nice way to shake the winter blues and make good use of limited day light.

The first stop of the day: bagels, beer, bourbon, all consumed.

Yesterday I mounted my Salsa Casseroll, outfitted with a fixed gear 42x16 setup and Michelin Mud2s pumped to 75 psi, and joined this group of riders. We rode from the Bean Cycle in downtown FoCo up to Red Mountain Open Space, up some singletrack connecting to Soapstone Prairie Natural Area, and back to town.

By the way, 42x16 is pretty damn close to 40x15.

I forgot my wallet at home, and spent the day mooching off of everyone for food and drink, and hope the small flask of bourbon I brought was payment enough for their generosity.

Heading to Red Mountain.

The ride north was a lovely jaunt through Northern Colorado farmland, with the sun shining and a late Indian Summer warming the crew.

Captain Practicality won the coveted "Most Practical Bike for a Dirt / Singletrack / Road Ride" award. He turned around at the singletrack and we still beat him home. As Bikefag put it, "I think he learned quite a bit today."

At the singletrack trailhead, a few people on less-than-ideal bikes (like Captain Practicality) decided to turn back. The rest of us continued to the summit (my 42x16 gearing was less than ideal here) where we enjoyed some food, drink, and a lovely view of a fast-approaching low pressure system.

Heading up the singletrack.

40 - 50 mph winds kicked up, and we thought it best to descend to the Soapstone parking area. It was my first time descending singletrack on a fixed gear road bike with CX tires. It was super fun, aside from the wind that was, at times, strong enough to literally blow you off the trail.

Cold front! The shittiness of the weather corresponds exponentially to one's proximity to the Wyoming border.

At the parking lot, Bikefag and Josh and I were tired of standing in the cold, so we decided to leave the crowd and head for home. After the 2 most unpleasant miles I've ever experienced on a bike (straight into a 35 mph headwind, uphill, on an overgeared fixie on dirt), we turned south and formed a nice echelon and team time trial-esque rotation. We surfed the cross wind back to town at a good clip.

At this point, I parted ways with my "team" and met up with the rest of the crew at the Bar Double S for a mooched beer, and soaked in the last of the day's rays.

No better way to spend the first day of Daylight Losings Time.

Monday, July 05, 2010

chasing Don...

This is Don:

This is Don's shop:

This is an awesome Campagnolo poster with Eddy Merckx and Clay Regazzoni's moustache:

Don builds bikes; this is one of his framesets:

This weekend, I went to Salida to ride with Don. Don has been doing this ride on July 4th since 1987. This is Don dropping me:

This is Don refueling with melon:

A whole lot of riders left Salida proper at 4:30 am, and were 3,000 feet above the town by sunrise. We climbed for about 4 hours on old rail beds, dirt roads and a little singletrack.

We hit Monarch pass, 4000+ feet above where we started at 8:15, and then continued on to the epic Monarch Crest.

Singletrack across the sky, the crest takes you over 12,000 feet in altitude. My Delaware background had me gasping at points.

This year's ride had only one snow crossing. Brad there was a nice guy who helped show me the route.

We descended the loose and rocky Silver Creek trail, which ended in a river, requiring riders to ride down the riverbed, with the snow-melt, for about 200 meters.

Eventually, we ended up on the Rainbow trail, a moto trail with a lot of ups and downs that really hurt after 50+ miles in the saddle.

The ride culminated in a 3 mile, 2,500 foot hike-a-bike over Methodist Mountain on the Rainbow Trail. Colin was nice enough to keep me company. The aspen and wildflowers were in their full splendor.

Now, this is Colorado. I heard we had 88 miles and around 11,000 feet of climbing for the day. Took me about 12 hours. The combination of lacking fitness, altitude, and tough terrain definitely made this one of my hardest days on the bike. But it was 100 percent worth it. There's a reason Don's been doing this for over 20 years.

These ants were camped next to me:

Oh yeah, America, Fuck Yeah!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

the air is rare...

Skinny tires + 15 % + dirt = fun climbing = treacherous descents.

Snuck out for a ride this morning before work.

Decided to explore one of the canyons out of Boulder - Sunshine Canyon Drive.

Discovered that the pavement turned to dirt with 1,000 feet of climbing to go.

Weather was a little damp, but the views were amazing.

And once my sphinctor relaxed after descending the steeper dirt sections, the paved descent made up for everything.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Made it in one piece...

So, I'm now a resident of the People's Republic of Boulder.

Silas met me in Maryland, and on day 1 we drove through Virginia, West Virginia, Virginia again, and ended the day in Tennessee. My aunt and uncle have a lake house, and we spent day 2 on the lake playing and drinking cheap Mexican beer.

Day 3 brought us up through Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and finally to Warrensburg, Missouri where we stayed with Lyndsey, Brian and Kai for the evening, relaxing and catching up on the Bachelorette.

Our last driving day was spent crossing Kansas, eating Wendy's, washing down the spicy chicken sandwich with Dairy Queen, and finally arriving in Denver.

High points of the trip included seeing a smoking car in a parking lot with 4 clueless teenagers looking on with no solution to the cloud forming around their SUV, a guy grilling on a trailer BBQ attached to his car on the shoulder of I-70 just west of St. Louis. It was also pretty amazing to see the landscape change as the miles ticked by. The US has a lot of beautiful scenery, although a lot of it in places I wouldn't want to live.

So far Colorado has not let me down. I've had a chance to meet up with some old friends, make some new friends, ride my road and mountain bikes, climb in Eldorado Canyon, and swim in a lake. Though I've been working as I've unpacked, the job really begins in earnest tomorrow... so time to keep my nose to the grindstone.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


In case you haven't heard, I'm moving to Colorado. Boulder to be exact, and the uHaul rubber hits the road on Friday. My best friend will be making the trip with me, if only to help move boxes.

I had a little good-bye shindig here on Friday, a bit self-congratulatory I suppose, but it was really a way for me to say thanks to my friends for putting up with me for the last 5 years. Without them, I would not have lasted more than 6 months in the Mid-Atlantic. My attitude went from one of complete abhorrence to a love of an area with a great riding community and some awesome people.

I still don't love the geography here, but the people I now know and the proximity to some cool East Coast shit made my life here more than livable - I'm sad to leave it.

That being said, I'm excited for new opportunities, and comforted in the knowledge that nothing is permanent, and I can always return to any of the many places I've called home in my short life.

So thanks to everyone here in the Mid-Atlantic. Please don't hesitate to look me up if you head West. I love you all, and I'll really miss you.

I'll also try to make more of an effort to keep this bad boy up to date... Sorry to anyone I missed in the photos.