Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Weekend in the world of Spencer Penrose

So this evening Shannon and I just returned to our cozy home after a weekend of wining and dining at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. This place is pretty cool by the way. There are employees all around tryng to help you out and take care of anything you need. Every morning when I would leave for my ride out the front door the door men would ask if I needed anything, way cool. Not only that, but everyday when they came to clean your room they refreshed the ice bucket for you without asking. No need to find the ice machine, we couldn't as it was, they just do it.

Other cool things about this place is the history of the building. It was built in 1918 right after World War I by this guy named Spencer Penrose. He made a bunch of money investing in mining and hit the jackpot with a copper mine in Utah. In so doing he and his wife decided that they wanted to bring the east coast luxuriousness found in New York and Virginia to the Wild West, and the Broadmoor was born. Lots of cool history all around the halls.

In addition to this Mr. Penrose invested in a large number of different projects around Colorado Springs to attract people to it as a vacation destination of class. The road to the top of Pikes Peak was his doing. Refurbishing the cog train up as well. The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is and was created for the many exotic animals he kept and then was given to the public. Finally the Sun Shrine a shrine to Will Rogers above the Zoo. All very cool things to go check out while you are in Colorado Springs.

The food at this place is pretty cool too. This morning, after exploring the mountains the some and wishing I had more time to get lost on many trails up above Seven Falls and Cripple Creek I went to sunday brunch with Shannon and her parents at the Broadmoor. There was so much food I did not know what do with myself except eat a lot. So breakfast/lunch was: 3 egg omelette with green chile, mushrooms, onions, and cheese; potatoes; cheese blintzes; eggs benedict no canadian bacon; chocolate croissant; assorted berries and other fruits; coffee; orange juice; and baked alaska.

After a very tasty breakfast we made our way to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, a place I grew up going to when I would spend my summers in Colorado Springs while my dad worked at the Air Force Academy. They have done some great improvements, especially the habitats for the Rocky Mountain animals and the Asian Animals. Well worth another visit if you have not been there in a long time.

The other thing that I got to do was check out the Sun Shrine or Will Rogers Memorial up above the Zoo. I have never been up there, and it is well worth the drive up the steep mountain road. There are great views and you learn a bunch about Spencer Penrose and Will Rogers.

Well that is all for now.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

News, Notes, and a change of venue

First things first. Starting today I will not longer be posting about cycling on this blog. If you are interested in those cycling adventures I constantly have, well go check out my teams blog (until we finish building our website) at There you will find cycling related updates, photos, videos and more from the Transparent Racing crew, so head on over.

This weekend (the final weekend before school is out for the summer) I am down in Colorado Springs spending time with Shannon and her parents at the chic Broadmoor Hotel. This place is definitely super cool and fun! The food has been awesome, the wine (I don't even remember all the different wines I had last night alone) is fantastic and well I just feel fancy when I am here. Which is definitely cool.

Unfortunately while I am here though I have had to spend a large amount of time in our hotel room, which is gorgeous. You see, I have my final papers due this week (in fact I should be writing them now instead of doing this) and that means I am camped out up here looking out the window while attempting to get work done.

Well here's too more coffee, good wine and food tonight, and hopefully a successful attempt at finishing out the semester with something intelligent to say!


Saturday, April 18, 2009

1st Pro Race here and gone

So I did it. I finished, well sort of, my first race as a professional mountain bike racer. Today as the short track, of which I had no expectations on a good result. Not only because I haven't raced yet this year but in addition to that I was called up dead last of 100 or so racers meaning bad things were going to happen. Next step in my misfortune was an inopportune crash at the start directly in front of me, this led to stopping and trying to get out of traffic. Finally with 100 guys trying to ride single track all at the same time, well the possibility of moving forward at a race pace are pretty much non existent. So I stood on top of the course for awhile, kind of like sitting in LA traffic, weird huh!?! Eventual result, 2 laps completed, 5 minutes 21 seconds of race time, 73rd place, ouch!

On a plus note my legs felt great and I was able to really get the HR up there, so hopefully the good opening ride will have me all set for tomorrow to have a good race. Still once again no expectations tomorrow. Race fitness isn't quite there yet and I am just getting used to this pro field, so going to give it my all try to stay with a good group and see what happens.

Until then....

Thursday, April 16, 2009

On my way to Cali

Sitting here at the gate waiting for the plane to San Jose to let me get on. I think this is the first moment that I've actually felt professional as a cyclist. Chilling out, waiting for a flight and on my way to my first race. Though the first race of the season is always a nerve racking experience I think this year is even a bit more so. I've always been one to jump in head first and man am I doing that now. No training races and I'm flying to line up next to Christoph Sauser, well not really next to him more like 15 rows behind him, but still, it's a pretty crazy thought to have.

The past couple of hours, walking through the airport and thinking about this trip I've realized that the one thing I want to really accomplish is to be a paid professional cyclist. Ever since I was a small child playing t-ball or swimming my dream was to compete at the professional level and make this my career. Well I am one step closer, now let's make that next leap and get a paycheck to train and show up to cool places around the world to race my bike.

Out for now, check back for lots of updates from Sea Otter this weekend!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Gearing up for Sea Otter

The decision has been made, the plane tickets have been purchased, hotel and car reserved, registration done. I am going to Sea Otter to make my career debut as a professional mountain bike racer. I have a funny feeling it is going to be rough. The pro XC field, as of this morning, is at 145 racers so there will probably be another 15 to 20 added before now and Sunday which means it is going to be pure chaos.

In preparation for this trip, as far as training goes, I have been ramping up the intensity pretty hard. With my new training zones close to 20 beats per minute higher than a few weeks ago that means I am killing myself when I go climbing or sprinting or anything for that matter. Thus, making me very very tired. The other preparation piece of this puzzle was a mock race. The reason for this is primarily that I haven't raced at all since the Boulder Cup cross races in November, a very long time ago. Essentially I need to remind my body what it is like to go super hard for 2.5 hours. That hurts, especially when you don't have a carrot in the form of another racer up ahead, in front of you. Well 3 hours (warm up and cool down added to 2.5 hours of killing myself) later and 40 miles of mostly dirt roads and trails I was shot, I hurt, I was tired and all I could think about was nap time.

In other fun news Shannon and spent yesterday chilling and having a good time together before she had to head back to work for another back breaking 40 + hours in 4 days this week. We took our first trip to the Denver Zoo and looked at all the awesome animals they have. The Denver Zoo is definitely not the best Zoon I've been too, but all in all it is really good. They have some cool creatures, particularly the polar bears and brown bears, my favorites by far. They also have some cool birds, especially the penguins, Shannon loves those little guys.

After a good 4 hours walking around we hopped in the car to head back up to Longmont, taking a little detour at the new REI in Westminster. This is a pretty sick REI, not on the scale of the Seattle or even downtown Denver one, but it's pretty good. Arguably better than the one we have in Boulder. The plus side to this REI is it is in an outdoor mall with other stuff to go check out too, like a huge IMAX movie theatre and some pretty good restaurants, chains all be it, but good ones not the normal applebee's. The restaurant of choice for a late afternoon beer was the Rockbottom brewery. They have a pretty good ESB, I was fairly impressed and their Coyote Howling Pale Ale was quite hoppy, though not on the level of a Dale's or an Avery Brewing, so...

Yesterday was a great relaxing day, perfect for getting all geared up to head to California in 2 days!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Back to Northeast Style Suffering

After our long bout of amazingly warm weather where the trails were dry and I spent a solid week mountain biking exploring new places (Buffalo Creek, Colorado Trail, White Ranch Open Space, etc.) the weather turned for the worse and just doesn't seem to want to become spring here. Of all the cold days I've had while out training I would have to say that Sunday turned out to be the worst of them by far. I had a great plan though.

I was scheduled to ride for 3-4 hours, which when I have to ride for long periods of time I like to explore new places, new roads, and go see pretty things. All in all it just makes for a better experience, then the boring flat rides along the I-25 feeder, something I have never done and do not plan on doing ever, too much boredom there!

Well my plan was to drive to the base of left hand canyon and ride up the canyon with my mountain bike set up to ride the dirt, i.e. put the knobbies on. After about 10 miles of riding up Left Hand there is a well known steep dirt road that heads directly out of the canyon into Gold Hill, Lickskillet Road. I was going to head up there and once you reach Gold Hill there are numerous dirt roads for wondrous mountain exploring. There are also many trails up there, however, with the recent snows we got I knew I was not going to be able to ride them, but snow covered dirt roads are quite a challenge regardless. The amazing thing I had never expected happened. Riding up left hand, even though it was snowing, the road was not particularly wet so I stayed very dry. Even heading up LickSkillet it was snow covered keeping my bike and my body clean and dry, a nice touch. Well I got to the top of Lickskillet and lo and bhold it seemed that everything over 8,000 ft in elevation was soaking wet and muddy, UGH! After going for a bit farther west and getting very cold I decided to bail and just book it down to Left Hand Canyon and back to the car. That was the coldest descent down Left Hand I have ever gone through in my entire life and never want to repeat it again. My derailleurs were frozen in place from mud ice, my jockey wheels froze so I couldn't pedal making the 16 mile descent awful as I had to just sit there and let gravity do the work.

Upon finally reaching the car, rather than changing, putting the bike on the rack and doing my normal stuff I just got in the car turned it on, rocked the heat all the way to HI and turned the seat warmers on full blast until I could feel my fingers and toes again.

Of all the dumb ride ideas I've had in the past I think this one is by far the worst. It was definitely the coldest, most dangerous, and insanely stupid rides that I have ever done. Thank God I didn't have to ride the extra 11 miles home from Left Hand after that!

Here is a pic of the roads before they turned to nasty wet mush. When they were still fun!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Work, Work, Work

So after a great week of Spring Break where I got some good relaxation time and Shannon and I were able to catch up with Macky Franklin as he returned from Argentina and his winter down south I am back at it and finding a new sense of enthusiasm for all of the projects I am working on. The one downside is suddenly I am running out of time to get anything done. So here is what is going on:

Training - I am hitting the bike hard recently as race season is getting closer and closer. This is an extremely odd feeling for me as normally my race season starts the first week of March. Though it is definitely a welcome break from the 10 road races my body is used to putting in within in four weeks before I hit the mountain bike circuit As far as my first race goes it is either going to be the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, CA or I will be going to the first event of the Mountain States Cup in Fruita, CO. My decision will primarily be economical, but we will see. I would really love to test my legs out at the national level, as the main focus of the rest of my season will be the US Pro XCT and both Marathon and XC national championships. Regardless, I am just very excited about finally getting back to racing.

School- after a really low point with school the past couple of months I've had a breakthrough and am getting a little more energized about what I am studying. Maybe it is the extension for my environmental philosophy course and the changed final assignment in my case. Regardless, I am definitely not ecstatic about school. I think the past 8 years of working hard through high school and college are definitely burning me out and I am ready to focus my energy on other endeavors, hopefully a new job with a great company (Bikes Belong????)

Work - I have finished my first research project with Bikes Belong and am working hard to get my next one done at the moment. It feels good to be putting time and energy into something that matters and is for a good cause, getting more people riding bikes more often.

Home Life - Shannon and I have been having a lot of fun together recently, goofing off and laughing, watching silly movies and enjoying some new wines and beers. I found a great new local beer, that Shannon isn't as fond of as I am, but it is still good. It is from the UpSlope Brewery in North Boulder. Lucas is still on restricted activity from his bout with pneumonia recently, which has definitely been trying our patience, as he thinks he is completely better and therefore without taking him on the long walks he is accustomed to he is trying to run around all the time, which results in him spending a lot more time in his kennel than we or he would like.

Well that seems to be a pretty good update, I will give more as life progresses and continues here in Longmont, CO.