Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day 2011

Daniel's Park looking west.

I happened upon this scene around 6am this morning riding out to do some intervals. I guess Mother Nature finds some sort of intrinsic joy in putting these works of art together regardless of who is around to see them. I was lucky enough to be there today bright and early.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cannondale Lefty PBR Service and Needle Bearing Reset

Cannondale Lefty PBR carbon converted to 29er
I swapped out my stock Fox fork that came on my 2011 Superfly 100 Elite with a Cannondale Lefty PBR  earlier this year.  It is an amazing ride even when converted to a reduced travel (90mm) for my circus wheels.  I have thoroughly enjoyed riding the rough Colorado trails with this amazing headshock. It rides smooth even in very rough terrain - a huge improvement over the Fox forks I have been riding over the years.  As with all new love affairs, there can be some rough spots in the relationship.  Mine came a few weeks ago when my PBR started to make some noise at the top of travel.  I tried a few air pressure adjustments, made sure everything was tightened up good and had limited success fixing this issue.  I even solicited the opinion of a few people who race Cannondale bikes (Bryan and Alex) for some insight into what might be going on.  It turns out Leftys need a little TLC in the form of a needle bearing realignment on occasion.  Thankfully I was pointed to the equivalent of a how to for dummies on the process from Mountain Bike Action.  So I will pay it forward to everyone interested as it is pretty easy to do.

How To Service Cannondale's Lefty Fork

Friday, May 27, 2011

Return to Indian Creek

Made it out to one of my favorite places to ride this week. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Daniel's Park

An iPhone shot of Daniel's Park near the golf course.  I take the kids up here often usually on Sunday Afternoons.  A fire scorched the area in June 2007. A few black trees are still visible. It's amazing to me how fast things get put back together.

Daniel's Park Panorama (click to enlarge).

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wet SS Reunion

Reunited and it feels so good. I've missed having my bike curse at me.

It's been a wet one here in Colorado for the better part of two weeks. After my plans to race STXC in Boulder yesterday fell through, due to rain, I had enough and decided to see how the local trails were holding up in the weather.  I put my Niner One9 back together early in the morning with the plan to race but it turned out to be a perfect tool for the weather.  The trails around Highlands Ranch continue to get better and yesterday they were tacky, fast,  and holding up well.

The plan to ride for 30-40 min turned into 1:45. I was just having too much fun. There is something about riding a SS for me that is liberating.  It might just be the simplicity of it all, or perhaps the tooling around "should I run a 32x19 or a 42x11?".  Whatever it is, I was drinking heartily riding around in the rain... on a 32x18.

So I took a Kerkovian-style (or Handian-style) photo of myself.

One more glamour shot of the reincarnated SS.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


I'll spare you the bloody photos of rashed and brused skin.  Today was the first time in over a year I hit the dirt,  and did I ever.  Just like events in the past, there was that moment of slow motion between the time my bike mysteriously vanished from underneath me and when I hit trail.  I'm amazed at how everything just stops in those milliseconds giving what seems like minutes to reflect on the situation while flying through the air.

"What? I'm going down!?!? I was riding smooth!"
"I don't remember seeing anything..."
"What did I hit? The trail was clear?!?!"
"Bracing!!!!" .... BOOM!

The trail was fast with a lot of hero dirt, and a little slick in places from the rain over the past few days.  I hit a small 2-3" rut that had just enough bite to pull my front wheel out from under me. I went down hard at 20mph and the trail was unforgiving.  The dirt was so hard that later It was difficult to see where I had landed.  My body ground to a stop leaving skin on rocks, roots, and dirt.  I'm not sure who took the worst fall me or my trusty steed. The bike that was tuned and adjusted with precision at the trailhead lay in a mangled lump.  The bars were cranked around in an awkward position, grips and seat twisted off kilter, and sporting new scrapes into carbon.  My first thought was to get up and walk it off but I was in pain, it hurt, and things were still numb so I stayed down.  I honestly couldn't tell if I had broken something yet.   I laid there for what seemed like 2-3 min until my riding companion showed up (I later asked and he was 2-3 seconds behind me).  After 5 min or grunting and wincing I saddled back up and finished the ride.... much slower.

The route. If you run this in "Player" mode you can see where I crashed.

A bloody photo.  Couldn't resist.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Painful Bliss

I don't know when I started to enjoy early morning intervals but I do, at least for now. I am back into the groove again making painfully blissful graphs like this one.  I found a sweet spot in my schedule somewhere between sunrise and when the kids start crackalackin for school. This sweet spot is growing now that the days are getting longer.  I think I enjoy these workouts because somewhere in the recesses of my subconsciousness I know they are making me a little faster and a little more relevant in the growing pack of competitive 30-39 racers.  I also like them because time is really at a premium for me this year and no-nonsense training like this can deliver a huge return for the time spent.  They also add contrast for the 1 or 2 times a week I get out to ride trails.


Monday, May 9, 2011

2011 Front Range 60

2011 Front Range 60 1/2 Marathon 30-39 Start. I'm in there by that dude without a shirt on.

This was the race that almost didn't happen for me.  Up until a few weeks ago I was planning on doing the full 60-mile (6 laps), then I was completely out with my bike collecting dust in the garage, then the day before things lined up and I was back in.  I haven't been riding much aside from a few hour-long high intensity sessions so I decided to ease back into racing and just do the 30-mile (1/2 marathon) race.  I hadn't even gone 30 miles since April 9th the last long ride being my favorite Mt Falcon to LOTB and back.  Needless to say my fitness was a big unknown so I lined up conservatively towards the back of the pack.  Once the race started a testosterone-induced fit kicked in and I couldn't help myself.  After a long 10 seconds of rolling out slow I hammered it and bridged back up to the tail end of the lead group just prior to hitting the singletrack.

"Go big or go home!"... right?

I knew this was kind of a bone-head move.  I was going to clog up the fast guys in 2-3 min when we started hitting the hills and there was no way I was going to hang but it was warm out and the sun was shining and I did it anyway.  A month prior for the True Grit I had set up a few HR alarms on my Garmin 705 to remind me when I slid below zone 3 or above zone 5.  These reminders were indended to help me push the pace if I started loosing focus and to hold back if I was in over my head.  Sliding down the HR scale, has been a problem for me in past races most often when I get out in no man's land riding solo without a wheel to stick to or a rabbit to chase down.  I had sense turned off the zone 3 alarm because it was just annoying for everyday riding or interval work.  I had completely forgotten about the zone 5 alarm until this race when I was standing up hammering about 30 yards into the singletrack.  I looked down and I was at 165 BPM.  For anyone that has ridden with me you know that 160 is well into my redline. It seems I'm usually 20+ BPM below other people.  I don't know why my HR is consistently low but it is what it is.  I dialed back just a bit, alarm still going off,  and started to accept the fact that I wasn't going to turn in any kind of spectacular performance and this was going to be a fun 30-mile ride in the sunshine... and I was good with that.  I rode strong for most of the first lap and fell apart after the one big climb.  I recovered on lap 2 and felt good through the end of the race.  I focused on riding at a solid pace on the flats, pushing at times, and hitting the hills with everything I had. My goal was to keep my lap times consistent and try to come in under 2 hours.  I made the first goal and missed my second goal buy just under 2 min.  One thing that is really cool about racing mountainbikes are the friends you make.  At the drop of a hat, I had support from John and Kathy Davis (ok just Kathy). These are just two of many others I have met that would gladly offer to hand up bottles or do just about anything for a fellow rider.  The scene here in Colorado is just that cool. Thanks again guys!

It was hot!  Headed back down the big hill climb on lap 1 trying to recover. This was pretty much the end of my "race" and the start of my "ride".  I managed to hang on for 11th in my group and 25th overall.

Friday, May 6, 2011


As much as I like to write about training and racing (and I really, really like those things) there is one part of my life that takes up much more time and pays back 100 fold in reward v.s. time spent over any other activity. This one thing is actually made up of five individuals: my wife and four kids. Yes I said four... the number 4... 1, 2, 3, 4 and they are a handfull. The oldest will be 9 in July and the youngest is in her 2nd year. We were thrown for a loop the past few weeks going through a job transition and putting our house on the market.  Both events were conceived independently but seemed to collide on us during the same timeframe.  To get it all taken care of quickly, I put everything that didn't have to do with those two priorities on hold including to a large extent family time.  When the dust finally settled, my brilliant wife came up with a plan to correct the neglect of our offspring in the form of some quality time away from the casa.  The one thing I really love about my kids is how forgiving they can be even when they have every right to hold us accountable for our poorly executed parenting. Weeks of less than enough quality time spent are quickly forgotten after a good day like this one - a lesson to be learned here for we adults eh?

Rockin' the Glenwood Alpine slide with Jaxon

Kade only made it 1/2 way the first attempt convinced that was as high as he could go.  Then I put a $5 on the table the next time.  He made it all the way without looking back.  I guess making his old man proud isn't motivation enough. 

Some people need everything explicitly stated?
Glenwood Springs

"Okay. Squirt here will now give you a rundown of proper exiting technique. Rip it, roll it, and punch it!"

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May The 4th Be With You

Evidence of Spring
I'm not a big Star Wars fan but apparently today is Star Wars Day and what better way to get the hit count up on a blog than to pick a popular phrase and make that the title.  In any case, it is May 4th and in my neck of the woods it is starting to look like Spring (now that we are a little more than a month away from from Summer).  I rolled out of bed early again this am to get some interval work in and for the first time this year I didn't have to throw on leg warmers.  It was also nice to not start riding in the dark.  Spring, I am ready... bring it!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Happy Monday

It has been a few weeks but my chores are done and I am officially ungrounded.

Looking north west from Bluffs Regional Park in Lone Tree.