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:

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Making The Commute Count

Yes I'm riding a road bike on the dirt...

I live about 8 miles as the crow flies from my house to the office.  On a good day, depending on traffic lights, I can straight-shot this on my road bike in 15-20 min - faster than I can drive usually.  For a long time this is what I would do on the 2-3 days I rode to work each week. The ride back home was a steady climb and I could push pretty good for 30-45 min.  Not bad considering I could be sitting in traffic with everyone else wasting time.

This year I started incorporating more training into my ride to work.  Rather than a straight shot I started leaving earlier choosing less direct routes with more elevation loss/gain. That 8 miles turned into 22+ one-way.  Add an extra 10-14 lbs in a backpack with a small laptop, lunch, and a change of clothes and I was set up for a pretty good workout.  Still all I was doing at this point was riding semi-hard (hard at times) for 1-2 hours.

Some weeks these commutes are all I have to keep my fitness up with the demands of work, family, life, etc.  Recently I decided to take things to another level with some more specific training in the form of 20-40 intervals.  I like these because they are simple only requiring a good steady climb and 4-5 min per set to complete.  I got the idea from Dave Wiens in his ROAD TO LEADVILLE: RUN FOR THE HILLS blog post (I am self-coached currently and try to glean what I can from the professionals).  No doubt there is much more I could be doing, but these are simple and straight forward and one can "throw a set into a ride at anytime, early on, toward the end, etc".  

I've been experimenting with different sections of my commute to find the perfect hill I can get a set or two in on without too much interruption and may have it dialed in.  It will be interesting to see how I feel  next month in the Park City Point-to-Point with a few more weeks of these under my belt.

I found another 20-40's quote from Wiens in this post.  "I’m toying with throwing in a set of 20-40’s, too, like I did yesterday. That’s the cool thing about 20-40’s, you can just drop a set in anytime you want to, even riding your townie to the store or the pub. People might think you’re off your rocker but who cares what people think anyway, right?"

More Training Links From Dave's Blog:

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ready, Set, Suffer! Scenes From The 2010 Colorado Trail Race

I spent yesterday morning at the start of the 2010 Colorado Trail Race.  Below is a look into the start of one of the hardest endurance races in the world.  Look for a full writeup in my Epic Riding blog post.

Interview with Jeff Kerkove of the Topeak-Ergon racing team.  My interview skills were lame but he was a good sport about it.

Ethan Passant Introduction

Riding around the start of the race with my Flip Ultra.

More riding around killing time at the start.
The best quote of the day came from Eszter Horanyi "I could be at work right now."

 The view from the top of my head as the race gets under way. There was some confusion leading into the single track as there are multiple trails to choose from.  I might have disqualified everyone in the whole race by shouting "keep going straight" but we'll keep that a secret.  I do 70% of my riding in Indian Creek so the trails here are familiar.

The view riding the first few miles of singletrack.  Here you will see the likes of Dave Harris whom I crashed right in front of  for no apparent reason (sorry Dave), Jesses Jakomait, and Jeff Kerkove.  I rode behind Jeff for 15-20 min before stopping to get some footage of the riders behind us at Lenny's Rest - where the Indian Creek dumps into the Colorado Trail.

Racers leading into The Colorado Trail at "Lenny's Rest" near Watterton Canyon.  I pretty much got a shot of everyone excluding the leading 3 riders.

Flickr Photo Stream: Race Start + Many others

Jeff Wolfe riding with Bob Butrico

Flickr Photo Stream: Jeff Kerkove's Photos

And lastly.... I have this baby for sale if anyone wants a CTR race bike for 2011!

Related Links:
Dave Harris ( CTR decompression chamber
Jeff Kerkove : Race Report: Colorado Trail Race
Mountain Flyer: Passant Wins 2010 Colorado Trail Race
NPR: Denver to Durango...The Hard Way