Friday, December 31, 2010

Ski Day

Ergon sticker on Adam's helmet.
It has been almost 2 years since I have been on my tele skis and today I was more than a little rusty.  I hit the Park City Mountain Resort with a few longtime friends and some new ones.  It was my first time back since the Park City Point 2 Point so much of the lift time involved reflecting on the race fun and pain as we hovered over the snow covered course.  It was also pretty freaking cold.

Check out my face plant mid way through the video.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Objects In The Mirror: A look back on 2010

This year is going to be one I'll remember for a long time not so much for the events that took place but rather the people I have met in the past 12 months.  I have many to thank for the memories of 2010 -  people that have inspired, motivated, and mentored me as I took on my first real season of mountain bike racing at the young age of 35.  At the forefront of these individuals is Mark Zuckerberg.  Not far behind Mark is Jack Dorsey.  Not really... but sort of.  These are the Facebook and Twitter guys and really have nothing to do with cycling or mountain bike racing.  They are billionaire geeks not hard-core athletes. But they did create the vehicle(s) that have made the most difference to me as I stepped my way through the months of training and racing in 2010. In the process of making their billions, they also made it possible for me to meet so many inspiring, motivating, and down right cool people.  I'm not talking about an online relationship but rather real people with whom I have ridden trails, raced, laughed, and enjoyed a common love for the outdoors and cycling with.  If I were to list names of people I first met on Twitbook then in person this year, it would total close to 50.  Some of you have offered a couch or a room to me before a big race.  Others have answered 1000 nubie questions on topics ranging from race nutrition to tire pressure.  Others have given me opportunities that I wouldn't have otherwise had. Many have captured my attention for hours on end reading about adventure and everyday life.  Some of you are veteran superstars on the race course that still took the time to talk to an agegrouper like me after pulling off a podium finish. Some of you I still need to meet in person and will make that a goal of 2011.  So without listing names I want to offer a big Thank You for taking me in and letting me share in this awesome sport with you this year.  I look forward to riding with all of you and the challenge of trying to kick your collective arses on the race course in 2011!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

CarboRocket Half Evil Endurance Fuel

Each CR333 Serving Contains:

  • 84g Complex and Simple Carbohydrates
  • 1,600mg Electrolytes
  • 5 mg Caffeine (oh yea)
  • 2,500mg Amino Acids
  • 333 Calories
I'm looking forward to trying this as my primary endurance fuel for 2011!

Available at the CarboRocket website.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mental Toughness: Dealing with "It"

A torture device designed to develop mental toughness. Yes, those are MTB pedals.
A thought (yes just one) occurred to me today as I was riding nowhere on my fluid trainer in the garage with headphones on, watching a puddle of my own sweat pooling slowly on the concrete floor below.  It is not uncommon for me to be in this position as of late especially with the 2011 season looming, limited warm weather riding time, and in this case, a wife who is out of town accompanied by only one of our four kids.

 To me, everything on a trainer seems magnified: time moves slowly, I feel like I am working harder than my gadgets say I am, I sweat like mad, there is never any downhill, and the scenery just plain stinks.  In my book, the worst of it all is that I am ALWAYS at the finish line with the option to bail at every pedal stroke.  Few people I know enjoy riding like this (myself included) but in the absence of an option for non-simulated riding, simulated riding is better than not riding at all.

To add some context, I should say that I have been spending some quality time lately reflecting on the 2010 race season and getting some training-specific book learning under my belt in hopes of making 2011 easer on me and especially my family.  With only one season in the books, there is little personal experience to draw from.  To bridge the gap, I have been absorbing what I can from other more experienced riders (of which Colorado has no shortage. A big thank you to all who share your secrets so freely with a nubie). When I say riders, I should really say racers. I am not new to riding a mountain bike.  I've been riding one since the late 1980s when *everything* had a rigid fork and weighed 30 lbs.  I am new to racing a mountain bike which is a lot different than riding one for fun.  In terms of reading, it is no secret that there is a book commonly referred to by cyclists as "The Bible" and this has been my primary book of study for the past month.  I race mountain bikes exclusively but most if not all principles in this cycling book apply to mountain biking.  I recommend this book to anyone just starting out especially if you are interested in the science of training (and if you want to do well, you will need to be interested). Within a few hours of reading, I identified some common rookie mistakes I made during the course of the year. While I think it is important to understand things for myself, if you don't want to do it all yourself, you don't have to.  There are a number of very qualified coaches that can create personalized training plans to fit your needs or general event-specific training plans for you to use.

Back to the trainer and my deep thoughts.

I was riding, still watching sweat drip on the floor, music cranking, trying to push away the voice telling me that 40 min is just as good as the 90 min I was planning on riding.  I was thinking of what aspects of my riding game need the most work: endurance, force, speed skills, muscular endurance, anaerobic endurance, power?  All of these are listed on the racing abilities triangle on page 90 of that "Bible" I have been reading (page 94 talks about some specific types of training one could consider doing to improve each).  While deep in thought on this I realized the one "ability" I wasn't taking into consideration was staring me in the face at that very moment.

 Mental Toughness.

What is mental toughness? I'm sure there is some academic / technical definition out there but the simplest one I have heard is the ability to just "turn it off". What is "It"?  That answer might be different for each of us. For me "It" is that voice trying to convince me that 40 min is as good as 90 min on the trainer.  "It" also comes in the form of pain in all parts of my body as the miles pile up during a race or long training ride.  "It" clearly defined itself for me multiple times in 2010 perhaps most prominently at the Park City Point 2 Point.  I'm sure if someone would have prepared a shallow grave somewhere along the trail between mile 60 and 80, I might have succumbed to "It" and laid down using what little energy I had left to cover myself with loose dirt.  But there was nothing of the sort and I pushed forward to the end.  Over the course of the season, I had unintentionally added some "mental toughness" training into the long rides, hill repeats, 20-40s, and yes hours on the trainer.  I had been learning to deal with "It" and when "It" showed up on race day, I was able to defend.

So ride your trainer.  Stare at your bike computer the whole time as it slowly clicks away second by second.  Sweat on the floor and love the hours of torture.  They are productive. You are training your mind to deal with "It".  And "It" will be there with each pedal stroke next season.

* More on Mental Toughness from Joe Friel (PDF).  I came across this while doing a little Googling after drafting this post.

Monday, December 13, 2010


It started off bad but ended good.

The Bad.

The 2nd oldest boy came running up the stairs with a stitch-worthy gash in his head.  The same thing happened almost 2 years ago to the day.  This time they were able to glue the cut back together.

Quick trip to the urgent care.

The Good.

I took the injured boy along with his older brother to Wheat Ridge Cyclery for the Ergon MTB KLINIK.  Why was this good?  Aside from getting out to support some team sponsors and gawk around the bike shop, I also won a training plan from LW Coaching in the raffle.  This will come in very handy for 2011.  Thanks again to Lynda Wallenfels for throwing this into the hat.

Claiming my prize! We'll keep secret the fact that I had 3 tickets (me + 2 boys) to increase the odds.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Epic Endurance Cycling Team

I am looking forward to 2011 for many reasons.  Among them is the chance to rub shoulders with my new teammates & friends on the Epic Endurance Cycling Team.  Check out our website and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up-to-date with what we are up to.  Lastly, please be sure to visit our sponsors. Without them the team wouldn't be possible.

2011 Team Members

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

2011 Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race - Take 3

My 2011 $15.00 donation slip - If only it were tax-deductible.
After last year's rejection (100% 2 for 2 rejection status now) to the Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race I vowed to forget this race placing it on the list of things I have no interest in doing.  After all, it isn't a *real* 100-mile mountain bike race right?  The race consists of 95% dirt road with terrain that might hit a 2 on the 1-10 technical scale.  Sure it is all at high elevation with some sustained climbs but many agree it is a mountain bike race geared towards roadies (not that there is anything wrong with roadies.  I'm a roadie too... chill).  Contrast the LT100 with the singletrack terrain found in the Breckenridge 100 or the Park City Point 2 Point and you might agree that the LT100 is a mediocre course over-hyped by big names and fancy promotional videos.

Can I get an amen?

Seriously now... My real thoughts on the event:  First off, I have no place to criticize or even comment on how tough the race is having never participated.  Having watched the last Race Across The Sky movie it is apparent the LT100 isn't an exclusive race for the elete.  While there is a general focus on the big names in the front of the pack, hundreds of first-timers and novice riders spanning the age spectrum fill the bulk of the race each with a story to tell.  Even with the public criticisms of the course, inflated registration fees, unfair lottery, non-transfer policies, etc, one can't escape the fact that the LT100 IS an iconic race.  It takes place in the Colorado high country which alone should make it iconic. And like all iconic races, it will continue to motivate and draw flocks of ordinary people to fork over the $$, train, toe the line, conquer, and add their name to the list of finishers.

Which is what I plan to do in 2011... under 9 hours... I hope.

Now I just need to win a stage in the 2011 Tour de France to guarantee my entrance into Leadville.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Grinding Metal

I've been waiting for about a year to turn a set of Shimano XTR FC-M960 cranks into a Jeff Jones style single-speed crank.  A quick search of the interwebs will reveal many others who have done this.  While I don't claim to be proficient at working with metal, I thought it would be fun to try, or at least spend some quality time in my mancave destroying a perfectly good set of cranks.

The Process...

1. Take a perfectly good set of cranks.

2. Remove the chainrings and apply a hacksaw.  The good part about this is it goes fast and accuracy isn't all that important.

3. Apply a 250mm file for 20-30 min.  I also used the smaller file to smooth things out a bit.

4. Stop well short of finished job but enough to have a workable set of SS cranks.

So now you are shouting at the computer screen because 1 - My cranks are a disgrace to all of those that have put a week or two into the same job (I spent at most 45min) and 2 - I still have the original 32T chainring on the thing.  Before you slam your laptop shut in disgust, be assured that 1 - I will most likely pull these off once or twice over the winter and tool on them and 2 - The M960s take a non-standard 102bcd 4 bolt chainring and I only had a 104 on hand.  Hopefully one of these from HBC will take care of that little problem.

Here is how things could look if one were to spend much more time than I did.  If you look close you can see your reflection in the crankarm.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Long Live POV!

2010 seems to be the year of the POV camera in cycling.  Recently there has been some talk about limiting the use of these cameras at cycling events.  I join the masses in saying booo!  Personally I love to watch footage of others hammering it out on the pedals and will enjoy even more this winter when I am trapped in the basement riding a trainer.  The following are some of my favorite POV clips from 2010 (well those I could scrape together in 15 min anyway).



Leadville Trail 100

Red Bull Rampage Highlights

Park City Point 2 Point

Breck Epic Stage Race: Stage 1

Breck Epic Stage Race: Stage 2

Breck Epic Stage Race: Stage 3

Breck Epic Stage Race: Stage 4

Breck Epic Stage Race: Stage 5

Breck Epic Stage Race: Stage 6

Ergon Monster Ride

Epic Riding "Joy"

Epic Riding "Ski Days"

Some Guy Blowing Chunks Post-Cyclocross Race

Friday, November 5, 2010

One Year

Don Bartow - 2009 Leadville Trail 100
It's amazing how fast a year can go by...

One year ago today arrived at work only to be greeted by bad news.  A good friend and fellow co-worker, Don Bartow, had been in a serious accident riding into work and was in the hospital.  My first thought was a car / bike collision but that was not the case.  Don was riding on a quiet residential street no doubt enjoying a beautiful morning when one of the two bolds holding his handlebars snapped causing him to loose control of his bicycle and collide with the curb at high speed. He was rushed to the hospital where he remained in critical condition until he passed away surrounded by family and friends on November 7th 2009.

November 7th was also Don's birthday.

Although I didn't know Don for very long I have thought about him a lot over the past 12 months mostly during my morning commutes to work.  It has caused some reflection on many occasions how fragile it all is and a renewed appreciation for life, family, and  friends.  It was apparent from the comments of hundreds of Don's friends that he was "that kind of guy".  The kind of guy that would do anything for you, a rare gem in the world today.

We miss you Don!

Monday, November 1, 2010


Monster Ride Peloton - Photo: Jim Fu

I've been plenty busy lately working on some new things.  Needless to say I am stoked for 2011 and happy to report that  the lapse in meaningless blog updates hasn't translated into a lapse in fun on the trails.  Colorado has enjoyed a excellent Indian Summer as of late and I have taken full advantage of it with multiple lunch rides around Cherry Creek State Park and after work hammer fests at Mt Falcon and Lair O' The Bear.  The riding has been some of the best I've had all year.  I'm not sure if it is because the trails are all that much better or if there is less purpose to the rides and more relaxation and fun.  It might simply be the company.  I'll take it any way I can. The pinnacle to October for me took place last Saturday on the 2010 Ergon Monster Ride  hosted by Jeff Kerkove and Yuki Saito.

Some video of Saturday's ride (below). 00:16 below is as close as I came to Yuki all day and I think he was still riding in neutral.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

2010 24 Hours of Moab

Some fast bikes waiting on another lap
I wasn't going to write anything on this year's race given I didn't end up racing.  I did a glamour lap with Adam Saturday evening and it was fun mixing it up.  Mostly I just hung around with my two boys and watched the action and drama unfold.  As I said, I wasn't going to post anything but I was told by someone all things "Moab" should be in the public domain and I agree.  I didn't capture much from this year's race and for what it's worth, here is my contribution to the interwebs.

Late Saturday night I did an impromptu interview with Aaron Smith where he (apparently drunk on RockStar) explains how his race is going.  Aaron is a new friend of mine... I'm pretty sure he is joking... pretty sure.  As always my interview skills were off the charts awesome.

Driving home Sunday morning I pulled out the POV cam and hung it out the window.

Hopefully I'll have more to add next year.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Higham Boys - Arches National Park
Life is filled with them.  Firsts.  As I get older, I'm not sure which I enjoy more my firsts or watching others experience theirs.  This weekend it was definitely the latter.  I took my two oldest boys to Moab for an introduction to a number of firsts. Among them the first 24 hour mountainbike race experience and first time on Slickrock Trail. Neither of them had ridden Slickrock so I was excited to see what they could do.  I tried to boost up their confidence on the way explaining the physical properties of sandstone and the amazing "gription" they would get riding:

Me: "It's like they took sidewalk and poured it all over the mountains and let it dry. You will have amazing gription!"

Them: "Sidewalk? Gription?"

Me: "Yea, except it's orange.  It's really grippy on your tires not like the dirt in Colorado. I bet both of you could ride straight up a cliff if you wanted to."

Them: "Why do they call it slickrock if it is so grippy?"

Me: "Um..."

Here is how it went.

We also made it out to Dead Horse Point, another first for them.  The last time I visited was when I was 10 year old.  I will let the video below speak for me.  I will add that it is worth the extra hour of driving and the $10.00 entrance fee.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Jason Hansen and Brandon Hodges on Georgia Pass.  Jason wants to make sure everyone can see his new Santa Cruz Tallboy prominently displayed in front of him.

I found out over the weekend that my 24 Hours of Moab team was not going to happen.  I was slated to ride on one of the MDC 4-man expert teams.  Despite the best efforts put forth by Keith, Adam, and myself we couldn't talk anyone else into filling the last spot on the team I was riding with.  Really?  It's like trying to recruit a 10-year-old to go to Disneyland Disney World.  One would expect a flock of eager volunteers. There were a few hopeful prospects but they all ended up falling through.  At one point Adam might have had Jeremiah Bishop on the hook but that too was short lived (ha ha).  Heck, I even floundered for a good 30 min. It was clear it wasn't going to happen. As a token of optimism, I suggested we register the team as "Jell-O nailed to a wall" if we did pull it off because that's what the process was turning into.  I realize everyone may be burned out or have a myriad of other reasons for not racing in Moab which I can definitely understand.  It is kind of disappointing not to bring it all together though.  As an alternative, I did consider for about 20 min registering solo but my last serious ride a few days before reminded me that I have been tapering since the Park City Point 2 Point almost a month ago.  If I am going to shell out that kind of money for a race I want to be in top form.  With the death of my 24HOM team came the end of my 2010 race season and hopefully the start of some good casual Fall riding.  

It is time to start socializing again.  

It's not that I haven't been trying all summer. I tried many times but I couldn't get any of my riding buddies to show up at 5:30am for a grueling 3-hour ride before work.  I don't blame them, I wouldn't want to show up that early to ride with me either.  I found it especially hard to get a 35-year-old body firing on all cylinders that early. No matter how much I hurt at the start, I always ended feeling completely alive at the end - something I had to keep reminding myself each morning during the first few pedal strokes.  

So now that the off season is here and the reasons for early morning madness are gone, I am starting to see some of my riding pals again and I have to say, it is a welcome change.  The first kickoff of this casual season was an early morning (ironic I know) ride from Kenosha Pass to Georgia Pass.  As you can see the Fall transition is well under way in the Colorado high country.  In fact I think this time last year the Georgia Pass was covered with snow.

Here is the route we took.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The View From The Office

Anonymous person's view from his or her office.

Here is a little time filler for you when you have nothing else to do. Yes that's right, when you are completely out of anything productive to do whatsoever.  I'm talking stare at the floor boredom.  Search for "view from the office" on Twitter.  Over the past year I've noticed a lot of these "tweets" fly by my Twitter feed.  Each time I eagerly rush to click on the link following the aforementioned text.  After a hasty click, my curiosity is immediately gratified by a photo showing an amazing view... of something completely foreign to what I think of as "the office".  Perhaps someday my perception of this phrase will fall more inline with the office view shown above.

Until then, and in the spirit of giving back I eagerly present today's "view from the office".


The amazing view from Jeff's office.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Unwinding at White Ranch

Jason Hansen - White Ranch Shorthorn Trail

I made the late afternoon drive from my office today to an area called White Ranch near Golden, Colorado to unwind from another stressful day.  This collection of trails have been a staple in my riding diet for over 4 years now but it has been months since I've made it up that way. With so many great riding areas closer, and the pressing need to get good ride time in for training this summer, White Ranch has repeatedly drawn the short straw.  Today I threw productivity aside and gave my old friend a visit.

As always, the trails did not disappoint.

I brought along the Niner SS as my trusty stead for the evening.  I also brought a riding light just in case but managed to make it back before darkness fell.  After loaning my pump to a few needy riders in the parking lot, I pointed my tire down the trail. I rode straight up belcher, a route I usually avoid in favor of other singletrack options a few turns into the ride.  While riding on the SS up the steep, loose doubletrack road I came close to reaffirming the reason for the trail name a few times.  I'm still getting used to riding with one gear.  It seems like it takes a good 30 min to convince my legs there are no other gear options and it's time to cowboy up.  By the end of the ride I was feeling really good.  One thing is for certain, I need some better grips on my SS rig. Some Ergon grips to be exact.  I have been riding with the GX1 grips on my race bike all year and can really feel a lack in both control and comfort when I ride something without them.

Here is a little summary of the ride taken from my Garmin.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What's Next?

Autumn Aspens - Squaw Pass

As the 2010 MTB race season comes to a close I find myself getting restless.  The sun is rising later and setting sooner snuffing out what have been golden riding times for me for the past 4 or 5 months. Fading fast are the opportunities to sneak in a 2-3 hour ride before or after work along with some of the motivation to do so.  My last big endurance race of 2010 has come and gone.  Remnants of that last event have been tossed aside in a few plastic bins in the garage.  Park City dust still covers my race bike which has taken a back seat to the road bike and SS in recent days.  My P2P race number, with the elevation profile still attached, is tacked in place on the garage wall next to the others that have one by one found their way there over the course of the Summer.  The trees will soon start to fade from green to red, orange, and yellow and then at last will be lifeless covering the trails that guided me through an intense spring and summer of pedaling.

So with the fall transition in full swing I am left thinking: what's next?

For most of my racing comrades the answer is Cyclocross.  Many of them are busy tooling on new bikes or going through the learning curve of a first season.  For me cross is not the answer, not this year.  Perhaps 2011 will be the year for me to dive headlong into that crazy sport (literally).  I do see the wisdom in the timing of the cross season.  Those of us hopelessly engulfed in the world of cycling and mountainbike racing are indeed addicts if only in denial.  We have been fed a steady stream of training, group rides, and races for the majority of the year.  Wholeheartedly neglecting yard work, garage cleaning, and other things that take up a normal Saturday afternoon. Now, just as the high is starting to wear off, along comes the cross season to provide yet another fix that will keep us at bay well into December.

I don't know If there is such a thing as rehab for the hopelessly addicted to racing but I am about to find out.  Even if the winter does prove to be successful rehab, I will most certainly relapse once the first group rides start up early 2011.  Fortunately I won't have to go out cold turkey. I have a few more months to wean myself from the high of the summer racing season.  There are still trails to ride although the rides will be shorter, less intense, and less purpose driven.  And yes, there is that one last big race in the works - one more event to send 2010 out with a bang taking place in that mountain bike "Holy Land" known as Moab.

The 24 Hours of Moab starts October 9th.

Cyclocross Related:

CYCLOCROSS: In 10 Muddy, Beer Stained Steps

Friday, September 10, 2010


Devils Head Fire Lookout
Post Point 2 Point recovery activities for the week:
  • Monday: Family hike to Devil's Head Fire Lookout. 4 miles
  • Tuesday: Drive to work and drink a lot of Diet Coke. 0 miles
  • Wednesday: Soft pedal to and from work. 16 miles.
  • Thursday: Singlespeed ride with my 5-year-old on the trails behind our house. 4 miles.
  • Friday: See Tuesday or possibly Wednesday if I feel spunky.

A few links on the topic of recovery from people that actually know what they are talking about.

How to Recover (Joe Friel)

Monday, September 6, 2010

2010: Park City Point 2 Point

Finish Line!  8:25:14.1 (chip time). I thought I would never make it.

Race Plate

I lined up with over 200 people last Saturday morning in Park City to race the Park City Point 2 Point endurance mountainbike race.  The course consisted of roughly 75 miles on 98% singletrack with around 14,000 feet of elevation gain.

It was a demanding race.

My course profile cheat sheet.  Red=climbs, Orange=aide stations, Green = pain

I felt good riding off the lead 8-9 hour group from the start with a consistent pace that lasted well through Round Valley and to the first aide station at Deer valley roughly 29 miles into the race.  From there the course pointed skyward and took us up what looked like a downhill course.

Yes I said "up" the downhill course.

This climb topped out around 9,200 feet before circling back down to the Deer Valley aide station again (I received great support from the Mad Dog Race Team out of Orem, Utah during the whole race).  From here the course launched into another 30 miles of solitude and another climb back up to the 9,200 foot range again before dropping back down to the bottom of the Park City Ski area.  I think it was on that last hill down to the ski area I let off the brakes and hit my max speed on the course of 41 mph.  I think I was way too tired to hold the brakes so I just let the bike go.

41 feels pretty fast on a mountainbike.

After the Park City aide station at roughly mile 57 most of the hard climbing was over but by this point in the race any climbing was hard climbing.  The climb from mile 58-63 introduced cramps to the equation for me - something I had dealt with in the past but not this bad.  It was a clear sign I was low on electrolytes and possibly water and possibly training.  I thought I was drinking enough but honestly wasn't really paying much attention other than making sure I finished my bottles off before each the next station.  I climbed alone in misery trying to ride hard but not hard enough to push my legs into cramps.  When they would come on I would stand up on the climbs and ride in a slightly larger gear with fewer revolutions.  This is opposite advice from what I have heard others say to push through cramps.  Based on some follow-up reading, the most common advice is to stay in the saddle and spin a very easy gear.  In any case my approach seemed to work best for me ... until it didn't.  I stopped quickly at the last mini aide station around mile 70 for a couple of shots of Coke and cold water, then pushed on up the last little climb before the drop into The Canyons.  It was here I rode past Jonathan Davis of the Trek Store team here in Colorado.  He mumbled something, obviously feeling about the same as I was just as we both pushed over the crest of the last climb.  We rode together bombing the downhill all the way until the very last climb (yes the climbs just wouldn't go away) prior to turning towards  the finish.  We climbed for the first 1/2 mile or so into the last uphill effort before my cramps surfaced again and I motioned Jonathan to pass as I stopped for a quick stretch.  I rode to the top and started down the hill to the finish line only to be delayed yet again by a flat.  The Stans sealant stopped the leak but the tire was too low to ride on.  Even though I could smell the food grilling at the finish line, I had to break out my Co2 and put some PSI into my rear tire.

My final result was 8:25:14.1 (5th 30-39 and 25th overall).

Some race coverage from Park City TV.  Look for me at 24-25 seconds and 55-57 seconds (yes that's 3 whole seconds of fame).

POV from the Pro leaders Alex Grant and Josh Tostado.

POV from Miles Pitcher on the 8-9 hour wave.  This is what it looked like for those of us that lack the super human powers of Alex Grant, JoshTostado, Kelly Magelky, and Chris Holley.

Dave Harris footage.

My trusty steed: 2006 Specialized Epic Marathon. Yes, I do need the seat that high.

Drool. Miles pitcher's 2010 Niner Air 9 Carbon.  I could have shaved at least 30 seconds off my time with this rig.

Pre-stage of the 8-9 hour group.  I'm in the upper left with a glowing oval on my head.  I moved up to the front just prior to starting the race.  My buddy Bill Wheeler is on my right (your left).

Swag!  Yes I raced my guts out to get a pair of XL socks. Only the finishers will be sporting these on next week's lunch rides.

The last 1/4 mile of the race (taken the day before).  Yes it was here I had to stop and add air to my tire.

Dirty legs post-race.  I am flexing really hard here to make them look tough.

I sucked down 4 gel flasks and about 10 bottles of CarboRocket.  It was clear I didn't drink enough.  Pee breaks = 0.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

¿Cómo estás?

Short answer? Cocido (cooked).

I started and ended the first leg of my day today in Como, Colorado.  A small high elevation town on US-285 south of Breckenridge, Colorado (over an 11,200ft pass).  Como is also the half way mark of the 3rd loop in the Breckenridge 100  mountain bike race that took place last month. I was slated to do this race but had to log a DNS at the last min.  Given the Park City Point 2 Point is just under 2 weeks away I took the day to get in some high elevation riding.  It seemed like a good time to get a look at loop 3 before next year when I try again on the B100.  I started in Como because it is a closer drive than Breck.  I rode the loop 3 course backwards.

The following pictures pretty much sum up the town of Como.

"First Catholic Church" - I looked around but couldn't find the second one.

Yes this is where the action is.

Given the above.  I decided to drive a good distance from town and park before heading out on the Loop 3 course.

Parking north of Como, Colorado

Breckenridge 100 Loop 3 - Starting from Como, Colorado
Breckenridge 100  Loop 3 Elevation Profile

As always, the riding and trails near Breckenridge were amazing.  I didn't stop to take many photos today but here are a few to noodle on.

Aspens Galore

A big section of the south side singletrack is like riding down a huge ditch.  Smooth and FAST!
Looking south from the pass.  Not sure the name.

Parking spot looking south to Como.  I finished the loop riding back up this section to my car.

My Second leg was on the SS to Kenosha Pass.  I was in the pain cave the whole time so no photos.  I barely made it out alive in fact.  I am still trying to sort out this SS madness.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Niner One 9: "Pedal Damn It!"

I joined the ranks of the SS'ers this week with the addition of a used Niner One 9 to the quiver.  I love having a bike that encourages me to pedal my guts out every time I look down at the top tube.

Nuff said.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Kenosha Pass 48 miles south of Morison, Colorado on US-285.
This was the STARTING elevation of my ride to Georgia pass last Saturday.
I love the western United States with it's rugged openness.  The red rock dessert of southern Utah will always remind me of youth, adventure, and home.  During my younger years I put in countless hours biking in Moab and backpacking in the Escalante and Canyonlands wilderness areas.  Recently, I put in some quality time riding some of the Wasatch range in northern Utah and still have dreams about that experience.  I love the majesty of the Grand Tetons and the surrounding Yellowstone area.  While these places and many others in the west reach 11 on a awesomeness dial they all fall somewhat short of one essential outdoor ingredient that is overwhelmingly abundant in Colorado.

Thin Air.

John Denver wasn't full of [crap].  He knew what he was talking about when he wrote the song Rocky Mountain High.

Many other states have the same types of terrain, endless miles of singletrack, rough rocky descents, amazing tundra views, but no other state has the elevation Colorado is famous for.  How many other states have over 50 peaks above 14,000 ft? California has Mount Whitney (14,505 ft/4,421m) and Alaska has Mount McKinley (20,320 ft/6,194m). While those peaks are truly impressive, the mean elevations for California and Alaska are 2,900 ft/884m and 1,900 ft/579m respectively - a pale comparison to Colorado (6,800 ft/2,073m) having the highest mean elevation in the USA - followed closely by Wyoming and Utah.

High altitude endurance mountainbike races: Breckenridge 100, Colorado Trail Race, Breck-Epic Stage Race, Vapor Trail 125,  that one in Leadville. The list goes on and on. All of these races throw the book at competitors when it comes to demanding rocky mountain terrain.  Add a mean elevation of 9k to 10k and you have the makings of some seriously hard mountainbiking.  Colorado has become the benchmark for all other endurance races to compare against.

Jeff Higham - Riding 1/2 mile south of Georgia Pass (11,392ft)
I am not sure what my fascination is with high places. I think it is the conquering beast in me - that same beast that drives many of us to push our limits and explore our surroundings.  There is something indescribable about the feeling of standing on a 12,000ft mountain pass or a 14,000ft peak you worked all afternoon to attain.

I can't quite put my finger on it.

Whatever it is, Colorado has a lot of it just waiting to be conquered - which is what I intend to do one trail at a time.

Mike Berg - Georgia Pass

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Park City Point 2 Point Preview

I've been to Park City, Utah many times over the years.  I even lived there during the summer off and on in the late 1990's.  I've been skiing / snowboarding at Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort, and The Canyons (Wolf Mountain , Park West... how many more names has that 3rd resort had?).  I've crashed on the alpine slide, toured the silver mine, walked up and down historic main street, and been to a concerts at Harryo's, but I have NEVER raced my bike there.

That is all going to change September 4th, 2010 with the Park City Point 2 Point.

Here is what the course looks like.
2010 Course: 3 Ski Resorts, 78 miles, 14,000' Elevation, 90% Singletrack, 100% Epic

For the past few weeks I have been looking at the course from various angles analyzing the elevation profile.  It looks pretty awesome and painful.  Come September 4th I will be at a disadvantage - or advantage depending on how you look at it - of having never put tire on dirt there.  I think in some way having no prior knowledge will make the race more exciting and possibly a little easer.

As Cypher said in The Matrix, "Ignorance is bliss". 

A few ignorance demolishing race reports from the inaugural 2009 race: