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.