Thursday, January 29, 2009

Brewing Beer

Unfortunately I don't have any photos of this whole process as it was definitely quite comical watching Shannon and I dunk the strainer into the already strained wert (beer before it ferments) and going through the process of restraining it again. But here is our little story of our first attempt to make beer.

My parents have been brewing beer since I was in high school and it has definitely become quite the little operation they have going on in the basement with one beer fermenting in one fermenter while the another one is the secondary fermenter and then another whole batch is bottled for the last little bit of finishing. This whole process is not new to me.

When Shannon and I decided that we were interested in brewing, we thought, who better to call than 'Mom and Dad.' Turned out to work out well, when they arrived for the engagement party in Houston this past december they arrived with the Deluxe beer brewing kit, it is definitely deluxe and very cool at that. As soon as Shannon and I got back here to Longmont and had an afternoon to head to the Beer supply store and make our first batch we did.

The plan was simple, let's make an easy to do pale ale (one of our favourites) that does not take too long and has less of a chance to screw up. We paged through our copy of Charlie Papazian's Homebrewing Guide and then picked out the "Gone Fishin' Pale Ale."

After acquiring everything we 'hopped' to it and started boiling the boiling hops (Amarillos) and the malt in our very big pot. After 50 minutes of boiling it was time for the next hop addition (I can't remember exactly what this is right now) and then 10 minutes later we added the aroma hops.

Well it turns out that we were just dumping in the little hop packages we had bought without actually measuring out the required amount. For the first set we were fine, but the next two additions did not call for as much hops, making, at least we will see in another week or two, a very hoppy pale ale. I am not going to complain because I am a hop-head as many beer connoisseurs call it, so a hoppy pale ale is quite delightful.

After this process the next process is to strain the wert and cool it down as quickly as possible to 77 degrees. The reason you do this as quickly as possible, to keep out wild yeast strains from the air that turn good beer bad! We strained, dropped the strainer back into the wert requiring another straining process and then proceeded to do this again, how? I don't know!

Eventually we got it right and no more straining was required. But it cause a lot of beer to be spilled on the kitchen floor and thus an extensive clean up (hops are very bad for dogs and cats and we have one of each). After this clean up and the wert finally cooling down, well, we added the yeast, capped up the primary fermenter, checked the specific gravity (one way to estimate the amount of alcohol it will be when done fermenting, we estimate 5% by volume) and put it in the closet until the next week.

One week later, the easty part comes, transfer to the secondary fermenter. Well, luckily this is the really easy process and we actually succeeded in not making a mess of things. Now we are the wonderful stage where we didn't think things through and realized that we had forgotten to save beer bottles for bottling. By all accounts we are supposed to be bottling tomorrow night, that is not going to happen as our current bottle inventory is 36 and we need at leas 60 bottles. I guess the lady at the local liquor store must think we are alcoholics because every couple of days we come in buying two more six packs.

My fingers are still crossed that this beer will turn out well, but we will have to see, only a couple more weeks.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Blogging in Pictures

This past week has had a lot of happenings in the realm of riding and in the realm of not riding, so I will give a description of each picture, which is located without attention to particular order so everyone knows what I am up to and then discuss other amazing moments of the week later. So here it is:

On Sunday Shannon got some free tickets to the Nuggets game from one of her patients at the Dentist office she works at. We met up with some good friends (Tim, Amber, and Chuck). Drank beers, laughed, watched the Nuggets stomp the Utah Jazz. This isn't actually from that game but another one we went to previously where the Nuggets beat the Phoenix Suns and we had better seats!

The amazing rusted out old car just before you get to the abandoned silo on the Picture Rock Trail. This is one of the best trails in all of the Front Range and the abandoned buildings and car make it all the better! (By the way that is my bike chilling by the car, she thought they could be friends!?!)

Here is the top of Heil Ranch almost at the observation point. Chuck and I got first tracks this morning in Heil, pretty cool!Ahhh, the beauty of Sram Rival. Though the derailleur cable routing is a little tricky, this stuff is pretty awesome, even after one roller ride I am hooked!
Immediately before I took the final plunge on the new set up and wrapped the bar tape and cut the cables to the proper length and cut the new chain.
Wow, now we are back towards the beginning of the process, only a crankset and shifters placed on the bike, nothing else.
Just got the crankset on, Truvativ/Sram you guys rule making cranksets that don't require special tools like Shimano to remove and install!
Just finished stripping her down with the help of Bike'nHike in Longmont, CO. I don't own a Shimano dust cap removal tool for their external bottom bracket set ups, so I required their services.
On Sunday Jason Hilimire and I planned on hitting the trails in the snow. This is the first temperature reading my car got as I turned it on. In actuality it was closer to 11 degrees at the trail head and never broke 20 that whole day. For a better run check out Jason's Blog:
On Saturday I went out and explored a new place called devil's Backbone in Loveland, CO. Pretty awesome, really pretty, and super fun trails! Good day of fun!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Winter has returned

Well, after spending nearly 2 full weeks being pretty warm on the bike today ended that string of joy. I knew by watching the weather that things were going to turn for the worse today, but I don't think my body was quite as prepared for it as my mind. As I rolled out of the open space parking lot at the Left Hand Vally trail head to head up Left Hand Canyon mashing the big ring (muscle tension intervals) I realized that maybe my winter jacket, long sleeve jersey, leg warmers, shoe covers, winter gloves, and winter hat may not quite keep me as warm as I had hoped, this was because I was watching little snow flakes drift by my face every once in awhile. Well, the few every once in awhile turned into a good blowing of snow around the Left Hand and James Canyon split. However, luckily nothing was sticking to the dirt off the road (hopefully it will stay that way as I hope to check out some of the fine trails that Fort Collins has to offer tomorrow and then return to the awesome Heil/Hall route for sunday!) The worst part was that while stomping my biggest gears up the mountain at a very slow rpm I would begin to sweat fairly profusely, and then as I would head down to get some recovery that would all change and I would get very cold. I guess that is winter for you, maybe I should invest in some new DeFeet gloves and glove liners as well as extra booties to wear under my waterproof windproof curve booties and my problems will be solved.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


The view I had as I got back in my car after an hour of mountain biking fun! It's January 21st and I live in Colorado, a place well known for snow, I guess I'll just have to wait till March when the inevitable blizzard hits. It was actually much warmer than this, but the thermometer gets confused by wind and it was very windy!

Recovery is an important thing when it comes to training and racing bikes. This is something that I have learned through both experience and through coaching that when you train hard you must train harder. I have come to believe over the past 4 years of racing and training that there are two very different types of rest, one is physical and the other is mental. Sometimes after a long and hard training or racing block both your physical body and your mind are in need of recuperation. Today that was the case for me, at least on the mental side. My body has been feeling very strong and well recovered thanks to the great coaching I have received this year, however, I have spent the past 2 straight weeks on the road bike a bit out of necessity and a bit out of choice (this past sunday was choice, an epic road ride with Jason could not be passed up!). However, upon waking up this morning and thinking about my afternoon recovery ride today I realized something that I really needed, amidst all of this wonderful weather we have been having in Colorado, (today makes the 3rd straight ride in bib shorts, short-sleeves, and no arm, knee, or leg warmers!), to hit the dirt. So I packed up my mountain bike, some shorts, tools, spare tires, bottles and bike and headed to Boulder for my one class of the day. Upon exiting class I hightailed it to an open space park called Marshall Mesa. Marshall Mesa, atleast I thought, was going to be smooth and easy but would give me my dirt fix for the day. Well In general I was wrong, there was some pretty cool riding there. However, I have to say the best trail I rode all day was the trail called Dowdy trail. Because I had come into it from the top of the Mesa I had the pleasure of starting it on an really fun descent that was both technical and smooth and fast! To sum up the day I rocked it on some singletrack being mindful to keep my heart rate low and consequently had a great time, now here are some photos!

This is the view from the top of Marshall Mesa (kind of, the top of the first bit of climbing):

After seeing this house and looking at the view (next photo) I couldn't help thinking, that whoever lives here is one lucky person/family!

This is the view that the above house appreciates, sadly the photo isn't good enough to really see how beautiful Eldorado Canyon really is (word is that they are doing an study to make the trail mountain bike accessible, creating another connection into the Meyers Homestead loop and another way to make epic mountain bike rides start in Boulder and work their way to Nederland!):

Tempo day!

Yesterday was a day back on the bike after a solid day off to recover from the weekends hard efforts stomping around the mountains. Turns out the coaches thought it would be a good idea to give me a sort of long and hard ride instead of a nice and easy short one, my ride looked like this (Unfortunately I cannot get my HRM files to open on my mac so I can't load them up to see the kind of efforts I was putting in):

20 minutes of warm up at endurance pace (first 5 at recovery to get the legs going)
30 minute tempo interval (HR 140-150, Cadence 70-75 e.g. Big Gears!)
20 minute recovery
30 minute tempo interval
10 minute recovery
4 minute fast pedal (HR irrelevant, generally in the 140's, Cadence 110-120)
4 minute recovery
4 minute fast pedal
4 minute recovery
4 minute fast pedal
20 minutes to continue riding (at endurance pace 125-140 bpm)

With this as a constant view if I wasn't looking down at my HRM:

This turns out to be 2.5 hours. Well after hitting a 5 hour ride with Jason at what would easily be considered tempo based on my 150 bpm average and 77 rpm cadence I thought, what is a 30 minute tempo interval. What is up with intervals!?! I can hold 150 bpm for 5 hours as an average, which generally means that I was climbing way harder and then getting plenty of recovery coming down, but when it comes to stomping my gears for 30 minutes I am always sore and miserable by the end of the second one? I don't get it.

This is me recovering between intervals, I feel a little dead right about now!

In actuality I felt really good the whole day and since I was doing tempo intervals I was in love with the headwinds that I had to fight through, for some reason they make the hard big gear flat riding much more enjoyable.

On another note it looks today will be my last day to ride in bib shorts and a jersey without the warmth of my arm and leg warmers as the weather is taking a decided turn for the worst after a week straight of 60-70 degree weather and blue skies, I hope I can handle it after being spoiled so much.

As one final note about why living out west is so awesome. Some of you may know, but not all, that I spent my younger more influential years living in Albuequerque, NM. Unfortunately when I was about 7 my dad got tired of his job and decided to get a new one which led to the rather unfortunate move to North Western Pennsylvania. In my later years I have come to appreciate Northwestern, PA and especially the amazing mountain biking that it has to offer, which rivals the best in the world. However, one thing that is not a regular occurrence there are sunrises like this:

Monday, January 19, 2009

Chasing Hilimire Around the Mountains

Jason may dispute this but yesterday Jason Hilimire and I went out for an epic road ride in which he absolutely put me through my paces. To see some photos and videos check out his blog: Here is my story!

The morning started really well, woke up, walked the dog, ate a monster breakfast that made me feel good. This is because I made one of the best breakfast burritos ever with some tater tots on the side. My burrito consisted of: 2 eggs, half an onion, 3 fire roasted green chiles I picked up while racing in NM (I have about 10 pounds more sitting in the freezer), mexican cheese, mushrooms, leftover refried beans, leftover soy beef all wrapped up in a big tortilla. check out it out:As you might be able to tell I really enjoy food, which makes it a good thing that I am an athlete and require large quantities of it!

After eating and letting my food digest a little I suited up and headed out the door to discover some awesome warm weather, my gloves came off quite quickly. After 40 minutes of spinning and not trying to burn any matches I made it out to Left Hand Canyon where I was to meet Jason. After a few short words we were on our way. As we headed up I quickly noticed this dude is strong, he was cleaning the first part of the climb in his big ring at a fairly close cadence to me in my small ring.

In essence this ride was to be Epic. First we had the 16 mile climb up Left Hand Canyon, then there were a series of climbs along the peak to peak until we eventually reached Allenspark and had to climb up for another solid 10 miles to just below Longs Peak before the windy descent into Estes Park. After a short break in Estes Park to refuel and get ready for the last 30 miles of riding home we made our way up the 3 mile climb out of Estes Park and suddenly started booking it down the descent into Lyons and welcome warmer temps (though they had not been that bad all day).

This ride was definitely tough, I checked my data on my HRM afterwards and saw that it came to this:
AVG HR - 150
MAX HR - 187
AVG Cadence - 77
Max Cadence - 106
Calories Burned (approximate) - 4780
Miles 88.86
Elevation Gained - approx. 6,500 ft.

Here is our route:

Thursday, January 15, 2009

School's Out for the Summer

Well, not actually. In fact it is quite the opposite, school has just begun, at least for those attending CU Boulder, those at Bard College in New York, well enjoy your continued break because I'll be done on May 1st and you won't be done till somewhere around May 20th! Hah!

So, this has been my first week back at school. This means that I have to think more carefully about my day and cannot just wake up, walk the dog, eat some food, ride by 10 or 12 and then relax the rest of the afternoon. Rather, my day goes like this (typically): wake up, drink first cup of stove-top espresso, walk the dog, make oatmeal and second cup of espresso to enjoy while reading the newspaper and getting up every minute to get the dog refocused on eating his food, look at my training plan, decide whether I will ride in the am or in the pm (typically am, but it seems that Thursdays have a consipracy against that I can't ride till after my class), ride, shower, read, let dog out of kennel for an hour or two to get wiggles out, drive to park and ride, get on the BOLT, walk to campus, talk about philosophy, walk back to Boulder Bus Station, ride BOLT home, drive home, walk dog, feed dog, feed myself, sleep. Very unexciting as you can tell.

However, there are good things to this. When I have school and other responsibilities (e.g. part time job, training, household chores) I tend to be much more productive during the day. When I am on break and don't have anything to do I tend to sit around the house and peruse the internet (I'm not much of a tv person, in fact I haven't quite figured out how to work our direct tv remote yet). Unfortunately, this gets old and there are only so many websites that I can go to multiple times in a day, so now, school is here, I am working on getting my substitute teaching license and another job as an editor for a education publication so that I can be so busy that I feel like a useful member of society.

Granted, if someone suddenly decided to pay me to race my bike (with this economy, that's a laugh!) then I would find something to do, maybe I would put in bigger training weeks than I have been to occupy my time, though that is not my decision.

Monday, January 12, 2009

New Beginnings (sort of)

So, today was officially the first day of school for the spring semester at CU Boulder. Well, I don't actually have class today, but I do have a reading group to attend, which results in a fun hour and a half talking about an interesting book with other students and professors without the horrifying part consisting in grades or paper writing. In this case we are reading a really interesting book, The Problem of Punishment by David Boonin, the chair of our very department, I think in some sense he is wrong though, so... Expect more updates on the school front as the semester goes on.

On another note: today is also a rest day on the bike. This means I end up spending a lot of time sitting around staring at the internet. This is primarily because my wonderful fiancee is at work and I am stuck at home alone waiting to leave to go to school. I end up missing her a lot, so I look at cycling stuff on the internet. This resulted in a twitter conversation with Jason Hilimire about power meters. Seems that I should get a Power Tap from saris, wish I could afford it, maybe if the finding a part time job results in a well paying one it will happen.

Finally, in my goofing off in the house all day the dog, good ole Lucas was starting to show signs of his protecting nature as a great pyrenees, he would wonder the house looking out all the windows to make sure nothing was coming to attack. This is him looking out the window over our kitchen sink:

He's a big one and only 7 months old at that

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Attacking the Foothills

So, today was the day for a huge ride, well 4 hours, which is a pretty good sized ride I guess. The weather here in CO has been amazing recently, well, somewhat amazing. It's been generally in the 40's and sunny most days, which means, the trails have dried out, at least the low country trails. therefore, I hopped in the car and drove the 20 minutes to the Heil Ranch parking lot with quite the ambitious ride in mind. I was going to ride up the Wapiti trail to the ponderosa loop and then take the Wild Turkey trail around the newly built picture rock trail. Picture rock was a pretty awesome build on IMBA's part, it goes from Heil Ranch all the way down into Lyons. Once you get in Lyons there is another really good trail system where you have the antelope trail, and then a bunch of other trails that I don't remember the names, but they are pretty fun to cruise around and the top part of Hall Ranch (the trail system in Lyons) is super fast and flowy but not technical. Well the bottom half is the opposite of that, it is moab slick rock on a descent. Basically it is an awesome bike handling skill test. From there once you cruise all the trails in Hall the job is to get back up Picture Rock and finish up the trails in Heil before heading back to the car. Heil is one of the places where it is technical in an slightly obnoxious way, but pretty fun regardless, so it is always worth it. The best description that I can think of is it is Jockey Hill of the Colorado Front Range. If you don't know what Jockey Hill is (Macky I know you do!) it is the ultimate trail riding in the Catskill mountains of New York. If you are looking for Technical it doesn't get more technical. The first time I ever rode there, my first coach took me there, well I was riding a 100mm front and rear travel bike, he rode a carbon hard tail with an 80 mm fork. I died a little that day trying to keep up with him. Heil is like this. The best part of this ride though is the amazing views of the front range you get to see, so hopefully, my phone did some justice, here it is:

This is from the top of picture rock trail

Here I am looking from the top of the Antelope trail up towards the top of Hall Ranch

Looking the other direction at the Mesa on the north side of Lyons

Saturday, January 10, 2009

thoughts on the past

So, this is the 3rd winter that I've gone through a structured winter training program and the 4th winter that I've been training to race, particularly with the hope of coming out in the spring so fast that I even amaze myself. Unfortunately, that never happens. Being, as I have a lot of time on my hands recently, particularly, with school not starting up for another few days, I've had the opportunity to really think about the past couple of years of training and see some interesting trends.

3 years ago was my first time coming into the winter months with the intent of racing a full season. I had just started racing the fall before and actually training and trying to be fast. Turned out to be a good fall and Bard College had just started up a cycling team/club so things were really falling into place. Well, I had been a swimmer and was pretty darn fast (14th in the state of PA for the 100 meter breatstroke, and a member of one of the top 10 Medley Relay teams) so I thought with my years of experience training for that I would be able to get this cycling thing down. Plus I had just won two races the fall before pretty handedly, so.... I really thought I could pull this off. Ouch, no way! I did the worst possible thing. Let's ride 2 hours a day, every day as hard as possible. I bought a cycling computer (only speed, distance, and time) and made it a goal to ride as many miles each week as possible. So, I would wake up early hammer as hard as I could to Turkey Hill, hammer home and go to class. Then during my 2 hour break between classes I would run to my dorm change and hammer back up Turkey hill or another 1hr long ride in the area, as hard as I could. As any of you know, this = BAD! Turns out I didn't get very fast, got very slow, tired, overtrained. Not a good mix.

Well, 2 years ago, my first winter on a structured plan seemed to be a good idea. I had made a connection with Christian Favata, pro xc guy from New York, and he pretty much was getting me going for the year. Well, once again, though I was much more structured, used a heart rate monitor, and was good about staying in the prescribed zones, my season turned out pretty rough. I didn't see anything like speed until the end of collegiate mountain bike season when I was racing cross and maybe one short track that year. Well, I now know this has something to do with endurance and years training.

Now, last year was much better. I was smoking all winter on the bike. Getting faster every week on my climbs, killing it for the endurance rides, and just feeling awesome. Also, had a pretty good road season for the first time ever, something I was feeling good about. Well, once again mountain season came around, raced once well and then got very slow for the next 2 months, yet got faster every wednesday when I was stomping up Mohonk mountain in my big ring, hmmm....

Right now I am sitting here thinking back on all this and realizing, that I was just training too much and too hard! I have some new coaches this year, Sean and Susie of Team FITaos in Taos, NM (Thanks Macky for getting me hooked up with them) and after 5 weeks of training this year already I am definitely starting to feel strong and pretty quick, but I haven't done any top end work at all, something I have never done the 3 past years. In fact, the hardest work out I have had is tempo intervals (a pleasure I get to do today, again!). So, hopefully, this year will turn out differently, with me flying when the Mountain States Cup kicks off in Fruita at Rabbit Valley!

Hope to see you all out there!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Fires Ablaze

I was originally going to write about the crazy winds that pounded me on my 2.5 hour ride yesterday, blowing me off the road once and nearly throwing me into oncoming traffic numerous other times. However, it seems that there are more serious problems in this part of the world right now, FIRE!

Yesterday afternoon a downed telephone pole caused a spark and with the increasingly dry conditions we have had here recently this immediately led to a fire. To make matters worse a short warm front has hit Colorado and with that comes the Chinook winds, that blow, at least yesterday, upwards of 75 mph. As one can imagine this caused very fast spreading. The first fire, dubbed Neva Fire (began near Neva road on the east side of Highway 36) was dealt with fairly swiftly, however, there was a second fire. As far as I can tell from news sources it has not been dealt with completely at this point. My heart and thoughts go out to all who have been evacuated and I hope that all is well with them in this time of struggle.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Skiing at Altitude

So, on my day off I did the most amazing thing anyone can do in the spirit of a training day off and being on winter break, absolutely nothing!! It was wonderful. Unfortunately it did not help the extra soreness my legs had from my longest ride of the season (see previous post). But One thing that did, skiing.

The past week my brother has been in town visiting for his 21st birthday and since I live in Colorado and he goes to school in Vermont I thought, well I should show him some REAL skiing. Not to say that Vermont doesn't have some awesome stuff, but the east coast tends to be a little icier and less powdery than out here due to higher levels of humidity and lower altitudes. In this attempt to take him skiing I thought of all places to go let's not hit up a big resort or a small one at low altitude (e.g. Eldora) but let's hit the top of the mountain, Loveland Ski Area. Turns out it was awesome! Every time I go skiing again this year I am totally going there! Luckily the coaches (Sean and Susie, you guys are awesome!) scheduled in ski time with an hour of recovery when I got home. So I rented myself some skis (I've been a snowboarder since I was 12) so that I could finally learn how to do it, since it looked so cool, and gave my brother my snowboard and boots for the day. well to say the least skis are pretty tough, but my background of spending my young life (4 years old to 18 years old) cross country skiing with my dad helped and I was hitting the super steep blues and the woods trails in no time. Finally, after a good day of skiing I got home and hopped on the dreaded rollers. No one told me that skiing was good for leg strength because I was spinning bigger gears for recovery than I ever have before, it was pretty crazy. Unfortunately I don't have any roller pics, but here are some pices from the day at the mountain (I apologize for the quality I still don't have a camera suitable for riding/skiing/adventuring so I am using my blackberry, not bad but not great either).

Here is me at the top of Lift 2, it was way cold and windy up there but great powder to be had if you veered of the groomed trails like ten feet, ahhh the pleasures of being above alpine:
This is a view of the mountain from the top of Lift 1, you can kind of see where the top of Lift 2 is, much higher, we only rode lift 1 once, the trails over there were way too crowded:
this is my younger bro, can't see him well, with the bright yellow snowboard strapping in at the top of lift 1:
All in all it was an awesome day and I am determined to buy myself some skis for this year or next, depending on the finances, because skiing is awesome. By the way, I'd like to give a shout out for being awesome to Christy Sports in Boulder. I rented my skis from them and me not being the type of person to jump into things tentatively I got some awesome twin tipped backcountry/jibbing skis which they gave to me for the price of some entry level skis! Maybe at the end of the season they will sell some rentals to me for uber cheap, hmmm?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The past two days have been filled with lots of riding. This is the time of year that I love the most, minus the cold. From about mid-December till mid-January I am on winter break from school. Winter break is the most wonderful break because it is short enough that you do not have time for a job but long enough that I get to feel like a professional racer for at least 4 or 5 weeks. The only concerns I have are riding, relaxing, and getting my mind back to normalcy after the last two weeks of a semester where my brain goes to mush.
Right now, I have had the pleasure of riding a lot, especially as January began. Yesterday was a most wondrous 3 hour ride with some tempo intervals. I thought that doing a little exploring was a good idea, so I made the venture up to Carter Lake. It is pretty awesome place to ride up to with some nice views. Check this out:

This is from the top of Dam 1. I was checking out the map and it looks like after going around to the north shore and dropping down a little bit there is another road that will head all the way into estes park, hmmm… exploration for a long 4 or 5 hour ride?

Today was a wonderful privilege for me. About a week ago I was scheduled to do a 5 hour ride while I was enjoying the warm weather of Houston, TX. Well, I went out and it was turning out pretty well. It was cloudy, humid, but not raining. My legs felt good. As I made it about 25 miles out of Houston heading towards Austin I saw sheets of water moving towards me. It was awful, well, after about 15 minutes of getting soaked through I bailed and high tailed it back to Houston, 5 hours, 100 miles, and one very wet chamois did not sound like a good idea to me. So… this leads to today.
Today I was once again schedule for 5 hours. Well, the weather here in CO was looking a little cold, 35 as a high for Longmont, 28 for Ward and the possibility of snow. After the day before of 60 degrees temps, this was going to be brutal. I woke up early, grabbed some food:

(this is a Macky breakfast, ¾ cup of dry oatmeal, egg sandwhich, orange, blueberry-pomegranate juice, large coffee (not for macky though)). Then I suited up and headed towards Ward. To get to Ward it requires one to ride up a brutal climb, Left Hand Canyon. This is not actually brutal, but the last mile from mile marker 15 is pretty tough as it gets much steeper after you’ve been climbing consistently for 15 miles. This is the view just before that turn:

You can see at the end of this road where it turns out of the canyon and heads up towards Ward. This part always hurts!
Well the ride continued. I made it to Ward and just above at the pass. From there, I decided that a nice ride down the peak to peak towards Nederland would be good. The Peak to Peak was beautiful, snow covered, but rideable and no traffic. Also, sunny and though not warm, I didn’t feel cold, always a plus. This worked out till I headed down Boulder Canyon from Nederland, where it suddenly got very cold and damp, so I finished my 5 hour adventure freezing cold except for the last 30 minutes, where my legs decided to finally work again, that was nice.
Well, tomorrow is an off day and then I get a recovery day on the slopes of Loveland Ski Area, so check back for updates on my first attempt at downhill skiing after 7 years of snowboarding.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Best laid plans of mice and men

Well it is a new year and I was hoping to start it off on the right foot this year. Woke up, got an email about my training ride today (2 hours endurance pace, have fun!). I was pretty stoked, being new years day I thought hitting up some what I thought would be clear and fun trails would be a great way to kick off 2009. Well, after researching the best riding options on I quickly realized that picture rock trail, an awesome new trail from Lyons to Heil Ranch (Boulder area) was a no go and it wasn't looking like there were any other good 2 hour rides that would be good enough to go riding. To the road it was.

2 hour road endurance ride, hmmm... what can I do? Well one of my favourite roads is Left Hand Canyon Drive, gradual climb, beautiful views, but it takes 2 hours just to reach Ward, so why not take the turn off to Jamestown. Good idea. Well here are some photos of my pretty much awesome, warm, sunny and beautiful ride. Note my gloveless hands and hat less head!

Photos in the style Jeff Kerkove, thanks for the inspiration!