Monday, March 31, 2008

Birthday Time!

Today is Neo's birthday! Woo Hoo! 7 years young. I can't believe he's been making me crazy for all that time. Since the schedules looked ugly today, Jessica and I took Neo out for his birthday celebration yesterday.

We hit up the pet store where Neo got to pick out a new toy;

And he picked out a fancy new "dress collar" as well;

And then, as tradition dictates (and I swear this time he had done it enough, that he knew what he was about to be rewarded with), Neo licked his chops in preparation for...

His birthday ice cream cone from Dairy Queen!

I'd say Neo gets to stay home for his birthday today while the rest of us have to return to work... but then that sounds like EVERY day for him. Bum.

Not just a Monday for the rest of us, but a cold and snowy one to boot. Yeah, yeah... enough of this winter crap already. At least it made for some good photos on my way down the mountain today;

Mountains and clouds.

More mountains and clouds.

The moon and some sugar-coated trees.

Cult Cross #3

As we got closer and closer to this past weekend, the front range weather was looking worse and worse for the Koppenberg race scheduled for Sunday. Koppenberg involves a good amount of dirt roads, probably 60% of the course. Bad roads for bike racing when it gets wet. Not so much because of the conditions, because an epic race now and then is always fun, but because of the crappy front-range peanut butter mud that the road turns into. It makes the road basically impassable on bikes, even cross bikes.

So I opted for a more fun route, I bailed from the front range early Saturday morning, to head out for the final race of the Cult Cross Series. The weather was better, and the racing was sure to be a lot of fun! The early morning weather was great, and I thought I might make it over the passes with no snow. No such luck. Still, it wasn't bad at all. I missed ski traffic and the snow didn't make for horrible driving. Other than descending Vail pass in snow packed conditions - I was doing about 50mph, balancing the idea of going fast enough, but slow enough for the conditions. Apparently it wasn't fast enough for some fool that decided to scream past me at 70mph, and promptly loose complete control just as he was passing me! A few fishtails, a smash off the median, then back across the lanes right in front of me, while spinning down the road, and a solid slam into the shoulder which sent him again right for me. That should wake you up in the morning, nothing like some NASCAR on the pass! He almost got me with his final jolt coming off the snow banked shoulder, but my superior driving skills kept me away from him. He might have been driving a whole lot faster than me, but I'm quite certain I beat him to wherever he was going.

I pulled into the fairgrounds at Eagle, and the weather was great! Sunny, and warming up nicely. The first race up was the single speed race. It started out fine, not too fast just the way I like it. I was happy to follow the fastest of the guys for about two-thirds of the first lap, and then we hit this long, false-flat, grassy section into the wind, I decided to let loose an angry attack. The legs felt great and I was quickly gone, sure to not look back for the rest of the race. Yep, that's when my chain-tensioner exploded... I had to stop and try to fix it, but it kept throwing the chain, and causing trouble. As long as I didn't hit bumps, or put pressure on the pedals, I was fine - not good. I bolted off course, ripped off the tensioner, and shortened the chain to run without a tensioner. It would work, but the chain tension was much less than ideal, so it wanted to pop off at regular intervals - and did. But it was enough to let me limp around the course to finish the race for my points. So frustrating though, as the legs felt great, and the course was phenomenal.

At least I was still planning on racing the Open race later in the day. First I had to get my bike fixed. Armed with a pile of cogs, it looked like still the best gear combination I could come up with (for chain tension) was going to be the one I was already running. Damn. So I tweaked the chainline a bit, and threw on a pair of 21T cogs to act as chain guides at the back. It seemed to work well enough, let's roll!

A bit of a bummer, it was just me and one other guy lining up for the Open race. And he was equipped with a full selection of gears - I had my work cut out for me. Jake is super fast, though he didn't lay TOO much stick to me, so that we could battle back and forth a bit. It was great to ride a fun, technical course like that, with a smooth mountain biker like him. Apparently I hadn't tightened my lockring down quite enough, in the 15 times I was trying to get different combinations of gears to work, so my cogs came a bit loose, and I had to nurse the bike through the last half of the race. Still, I was able to go nice and hard the whole race, trying to keep things competitive, till Jake opened the throttle all the way at the end.

The course... the course was awesome. All three of the courses for this series were better than 70% of the front range courses, but this last one was probably one of the best I have ridden. Lots of power grass sections, gravel, pavement, a little rhythm section, a jump, some ditches, a stiff ride-up, angry switchback handling sections, plenty of passing with nearly the entire course at 3meters wide, and even a few bridges thrown in. The numbers were low at the series, which really was a bummer, because the promoter and the volunteers put on one hell of a race series. Great venues, great facilities, announcers going the whole time, free beer, great sponsors, lots of people that hadn't raced cross before, and that overall "happy to just be on their bikes suffering" vibe, that only cross can really bring out.

The only negative thought I had at these races were all the people I run into that say "the only real season is cyclocross season", yet they were no where to be found. Sure, it's not really cross season, but if cross is so great (which it is), I would think people that really love it, would JUMP at the chance to do an organized race, on a closed course, regardless of the time of year. Hopefully some of those people will drag themselves out to the races next year.

Oh yeah... and regardless of what the promoter announced on public forums, or the flyer said (Races will be held rain or shine!) Koppenturd was cancelled yesterday due to weather. I made the right choice.

Friday, March 28, 2008


Project #0308-C01

A few weeks back, I started a new project. Finally, after much deliberation, procrastinating, and research, I figured out that while my stock car stereo would readily work with an auxiliary device such as an MP3 player, that it would also need an additional input device thingy... which of course costs about the same as a new stereo.

Hmmm... a new stereo... Then I could get something fun; The stock stereo played cds/mp3s on top of your regular radio functions. The new one will also play cds and mp3s, plus has HD radio. Kind of cool. It has a auxiliary plug right on front for the MP3 player, and even has a USB port. Now that's cool! I can just plug in my 4gig flash drive and have a ton of music, plus, I don't have to worry whether or not it's charged like my phone or mp3 player. The radio is also set to go with Bluetooth, so you can run the phone through it, or even stream from your phone wirelessly. Hmmm... I might have to try that out one of these days.

The installation went pretty smoothly. The stock setup;

That's a big hole!

New stereo, installed and already cranking out the Pantera on HD radio!

Project #0308-S01

This one has also been bouncing around in my head forever. Mostly during the winter. We had all this mostly junk wood laying around, and it seemed like I had all the stuff I would need to build a quarter pipe. So, you know, why not!? Especially with a clean garage, I could even skate indoors while the weather is crappy outdoors.

Well, last night apparently was the night, as I picked up the hammer and saw and got to work. It's pretty much all set to go. Even has the metal coping bolted on. All I need is sheeting for it. And I'll likely make a deck for it as well, I just ran out of time last night.

I'm pumped... I can't wait to get the sheeting screwed on and try it out. I think I made it a bit steeper than I had planned. It's 30" high, and the transition is built on a 5ft. radius. I probably should have gone to 5.5ft. No worries. It was also one of those things that just made me laugh, when once I started bolting it together, it turned into something much larger than I had envisioned. It's still way smaller than the halfpipe back in the day. Now that was a beautiful thing... and took up a good amount of real estate in the yard! But it was so very much worth it!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Koppenberg Recon

Yep... it's that week of the year, where the Koppenberg course is subjected to a steady stream of area cyclists, out to see if the hill is still there, if the wind is still there, and what kind of condition the road is in. Where Eskimos have 95 words to descibe different types of snowfall, you could use 95 different words to describe the various conditions of the Koppenberg course. Me, I'll use two; Windy and rocky.

It was all sorts of ridiculously windy yesterday as Seth and I changed into the usual superhero outfits, and rode off for the course. As expected, as we turned onto the first dirt section, our pace was blasted into a crawl. There were some ugly clouds trying to blow their way over the divide;

The road is fine... usual story... dirty, rocky, a bit rutty, some spots smooth, blah, blah, blah. The hill is actually looking pretty good. Rutted as usual, and the typical two lines up, but the lines are wider than they have been in previous years. At the top, Seth gave us the wind sock test, so we could check wind speed and direction. I could go into details, but suffice to say, it's all very scientific;

After that, we clawed our way through the head wind, back to Boulder, for a quick jaunt up Flagstaff. Back down, to find we were totally cheated by the wind, as usual. We should have had the type of tailwind that means no pedaling necessary on the way home, a lovely change from the trip out, but of course, the wind had died down by then.

Pinkerton, Kendall and Neven met up with us for some beer and dinner at a local eating establishment. Everyone rejoiced...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Style For The Kitchen

This has got to be the best knife block I have ever seen. Too bad we have more knives than what this will hold, or we just might have to get it for the kitchen!

Tonight myself, Rubin, and possibly Pinkerton are hitting the Koppenburg course for a pre-ride. And just to make sure it's as close to racing conditions as possible, 40mph wind gusts are in the forecast - just like every other time I have done this race. I believe last time the wind was picking up acorn-sized rocks and hurling them in my direction. Well, at least it's sunny and warm... for now.

Monday, March 24, 2008


And here we are back to the start of another week. Just a four day week for me though, as Friday we have off for "spring break". Just one day off, but hey, I definitely won't complain about a paid day off!

The moon was huge as it descended over the divide this morning. Too bad the light was so flat... it was better earlier, but I that would have meant getting up earlier to catch it!

Busy evening... got some spokes finally, and rebuilt one of my wheels that needed a new rim. I ginally got a new TT helmet to replace my Rudy Project Syton Supercomp. I liked that helmet, no real complaints, but I knew some of the newer ones would fit my position a lot better. And after some testing tonight, it seems like I was right, and it does. Should be worth at least 2 seconds in a 40k... maybe... depending on conditions... or something. Either way, I like my new Giro Advantage 2 a lot! Also gave Clemmie an oil change and new air filter - man that was overdue. And started to clean up the single speed cross bike, in case I get to use it this weekend.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter 2008

Neo Cotton Tail says, "Happy Easter and stuff... now give me a chocolate egg!"

Friday, March 21, 2008


I didn't post anything after last weeks first Formula 1 race of the year. If you got to watch it, you saw what a crazy race it was! Just 7 of the 22 cars finished the race. There were quite a number of reliability issues, and just plain driver-error issues. Of course this year saw the elimination of driving aids, namely traction control and engine braking. All the drivers coming up to the race, down-played the changes, and indeed the cars were pretty much just as quick. But I think the drivers underestimated how the changes would effect things during the heat of battle. -or they were just plain not willing to let anything out to the other drivers.

We barely got to watch Hamilton race, as he was off the front the very start, and through to the finish. He managed to keep his nose clean the entire race, and avoid the many crashes and offs that were going on behind him. Thank jeebus, as his last race of the season in 2007, had too much drama for me - as he threw away the title.

This weekend it's off to the Sepang track in Malaysia for the race, and I'm watching Friday practice right now. Not one of my favorite tracks to drive... you know... on PlayStation. But an definitely an interesting track for racing!

Today the article on last weeks cross race showed up on Vail Daily online today, with some great photos, and a fun write up. I liked the picture above, of me changing up the gearing before the race, then I noticed Neo watching me from the back seat, and then the picture just cracked me up!

I'm in the top 3 of 3 different categories, so I just might have to make the drive out for the last race in the series, next weekend. Tomorrow though, is the first crit for me this year! Up to the old stomping grounds in Greeley, for a race. I'm looking forward to going "race pace" again, but also just plain hoping for a safe race, after all the crashes that were seen at the City Park race a couple weeks back. Yikes.

And heading to Greeley is just plain a perfect excuse to hit up Cazadores... my favorite Mexican restaurant! When in Greeley, eat Mexican food. Oh! I definitely have to see if my favorite tortilla shop is open as well!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Arrow the Dog

Sure, it's not Friday, but I missed out on my annual St. Patty's Day car-bomb. So tonight I was at the liquor store, looking for something tasty. A New Belgium beer that I hadn't seen before caught my eye. I almost didn't get it, since it was available just in a 12pk. mixed with a couple other beers. Though, it wasn't too hard to convince me, since the mixed box included 1554 and Mothership Wit. No slouches there!

The new beer is Mighty Arrow. It's probably good that I didn't notice until I got in the car, that it was a pale ale. I'm typically not too impressed with pale ales. But I have to say, I was very pleasantly surprised by this one! It's got quite a bit of honey in the nose, yet is quite hoppy. Definitely a typical American pale ale with the dominating hops.

New Belgium doesn't put out terribly flashy beers, but they are consistently tasty, and typically have their own take on some classic beer varieties. ...but it really makes me crave another bottle of La Folie... it might be time for a trip to Fort Fun.

Tonight, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmerman has Andrew in St. Petersburg Russia. I've always wanted to go to Russia, though not specifically for the food. The preview for this episode tells you to prepare to be surprised, and I have to say, there is definitely some tasty looking food there! Way better than I had imagined! I still don't know about the borscht, but it might be worth the trip just for their variety of both mushrooms and pickles.

On a totally unrelated note... the Powertap Zipp Disc Wheel is finally available... if you are rich that is. What a joke... at $3500 for a disc wheel. Sure, it measures power for you, and it's aero as can be, but really!? $3500!? If you use it for 10 time trials a year, for 5 years, that's still $70 per use? And what happens when your PowerTap hub dies? I've seen way too many of those just plain stop working in 6 months time. Everytime I get close to deciding I should buy one myself, I run into someone on a group ride, complaining about their failing $1000 power hub. And you definitely aren't using the disc for training, so you will need to buy another $1000 wheel just for training and road races.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Let The Racing Begin!

Front page! Now that's a good way to start the 2008 race season! Flying the colors of the new team, on the front page of todays Vail Daily!

This weekend was the beginning race of the season, for me at least, and oddly enough it was a series of cross races out in Eagle. Sounds good to me, nothing like jump-starting the season with the violent efforts of cyclocross! And bonus, it's pretty close to Harry and Danielle's house, so it was a good excuse to visit. Sadly, Jessica couldn't come, but Neo and I hopped in the car and pointed it West on Friday evening. Hoping for decent weather and driving. The weather turned out "fine"; I classify it as fine, anytime the pass isn't completely closed.

Saturday's race was in Eagle, so in the morning, me, Harry, and the dogs rolled out to the race. It was Harry's first cross race, and it's always fun introducing people to cross-spectating. It's generally way more fun to watch than your typical road race, especially for newbies.

Up first was the 35+ race, another first for me, racing in the "old-man's category". I only got one slow lap in, to check out the course, and make sure I had decent gearing, since it was pretty sloppy. Plus, I figured I'd warm up in that race. I didn't know how competitive I would be running the single speed. Before I knew it, I was cranking through the (admittedly small)field. And I ended up in second. I seemed faster then the leader, in just about every sector of the course, except the long downhill paved section. There, I was definitely handicapped by the gearing. And I was pushing hard, but not maxing it, knowing I was going to race immediately after this one. So I finished up 2nd.

The course was fun. There was a long back-and-forth section that was cut out right through nearly 2 feet of snow. Followed immediately by a looooong run through the snow. As the promoter loved to point out, it was payback for the sand run at the Boulder Reservoir course. I think he won that argument... It was an absolutely gorgeous day! The weather was perfect! The only problem was the nice weather was making the course muddier and muddier lap after lap.

15 minutes after the finish of the 35+ race I was back on the line for the start of the single speed race. It turned out to be just me and one other guy. We started about a minute behind the Cat4s and I was quickly winding my way through them. With the way the course cut through the snow, it was tough to pass, so I was slowed a good bit. Before I knew it, I was up into 3rd in the Cat4s. It wasn't far, but I didn't press the issue to get up to the leaders. Plus, I was just plain starting to feel the back to back efforts. So easily won the single speed category. Check out the sweet bridge on the course!

By the beginning of the second race, Harry had caught on and was turning into a super-fan. He had even tracked down the free beer supplied by Oskar Blues!

It was definitely muddy by the end of the singlespeed race, and it was turning into quite some work pushing that gear through the slippery mud. But at least it was "mountain mud"... way better than "front range peanut butter mud"!

The rest of Saturday was a good time chillin' with Harry and Danielle. We even checked out the sweet new property they are hoping to buy. Festivities didn't get too out of hand, since I am a loser, and was planning on racing Sunday as well. It was cooler on Sunday, but somehow the weather was holding and it was still pretty nice. I rolled up to the race start, and literally got out of the car (1.5hrs before my scheduled race), to hear them saying that the "only pro guy" was just finishing up with the Cat3's. They had moved some categories up, due to low numbers. Including the pros, even though I had signed up for the Open race the day before. No worries, they were super cool, and when Jake had agreed to jump in again to race me, it was all good. Other than the total lack of warm-up, and losing 1.5hrs of digesting my lunch. But that was cool of the official and Larry hung out to run the race, with just the two of us, both on single speeds no less. There was some back and forth, but I couldn't even think of finding a rhythm on that particular course. And I was definitely feeling the efforts of the day before. But hey... 2nd place... and the front page.

So a good weekend, and a good start to the season. The legs felt like they were coming along nicely, especially for mid-March, with no race miles in them. Neo and I packed up, and came home just in time for the latest March snow storm...

Friday, March 14, 2008

Frozen Dumb People Days

What big social event like Frozen Dead Guy Days would be complete without some serious people watching!? Made all the better when you combine the contrasting populations of Boulder and Nederland, as well as an eccentric event like FDGD!

Gotta start with a quiz. Between the next two pictures, can you pick out the Nederland locals, from the Boulder people? The first person to answer wins a hippie muffin the next time we're in Ned;

This guy, I am pretty sure, is always dressed pretty much exactly the same... just without the frozen grandpa ventriloquist dummy

I hope you don't like bunnies... if you do, you might want to avert your eyes. Someone was mean to this chick and convinced her to buy a new "hat"... I guess you could call it a hat. More like a muffin for your head. But sadly, it was apparently made from the tails of 67 little baby bunny rabbits.

Plenty of goof balls there, including this hipster dufus, complete with the "man-dana" and "CHiPS" sunglasses, convienently placed on top of his head where they are protecting his high-lighted hair and chin fuzz. (The picture is especially sweet, since it also includes the bunny-tail hat)

I wish I had more pictures of people like this... People that thought it was a good idea to remain at the front of fashion, and wear thier flip-flops up to Nederland. Sure, it was "somewhat" nice in Boulder, but that doesn't mean it isn't snowy, windy and cold, 3000 feet higher in Ned. Not to mention more than likely, there would be 4-5 inches of snow on the ground still in most areas. Ahhh... the price to pay for fashion. Unlike the chicks captured in this photo, most of the flip-flop-people tended to be very well dressed in all the latest REI fashions, plus overpriced jeans, their Willy Wonka Sunglasses, and carrying their chihuaua. Even better, were the people trying to walk up and down this snow covered hill, usually in flip-flops. Most of the people quickly turned into out-of-control avalanches of swinging arms and legs, sliding on their arses down the hill, taking out other humans like bowling pins. Of course, that happened to these two, just moments after I snapped this pic. I KNEW I should have been video taping that one!

And speaking of movies... what outdoor mountain festival would be complete without the random cat-lady, dancing all by herself to the garage band playing in the park?

Grandpa is Frozen in the Shed

Finally... updates from Frozen Dead Guy Days last weekend. Lots of pictures, so I hope you aren't on dial-up.

Last Saturday morning, Jessica and I drove into town to catch some of the activities at Frozen Dead Guy Days. Up first was the parade. The parade featured all types of herses that made the trip up the mountain for the weekend. There was the flame-thrower herse;

Ones with little touches like this sweet license plate;

This one had a ton of "character". It also had a trailer made from the back half of a second herse, as well as no shortage of blue smoke spewing from the exhaust. I liked it!

This one was definitely my favorite though!

Just gorgeous, and made me crave some grape soda!

This years Grandpa and the Ice Queen followed the herses on their Tuff Shed float

Up next in the parade were the Coffin Racing teams. "The Bobbies" as I called them were good, and had nice touches like forming their "coffin" into an electric chair;

Though the crew dressed as the crew from Napolean Dynamite were easily my favorite. Don't miss Napoleans brother in the right of the photo, being pulled along on his inline skates. Classic!

This little car was just cool;

Jessica and I hit up the caboose for some coffee, and then it was off to the pond for the Polar Plunge. You know its a REAL polar plunge when there are dry suits and chainsaws involved!

Some people had costumes for the plunge, others went right to the bikini.

I think the bikini was a better bet, as once you pop out of the water, you won't have all those wet clothes clinging to you. Either way, most people looked like this kid; straight up out of the water and in a hurry to hit the hot tub!

After the Polar Plunge, we caught some of the Coffin Races. The Jailbait team was making good time through the course;

By this time we had been bouncing around outside for 3.5hours in cold, cloudy, windy conditions, and decided to call it a day and go grab dinner someplace warm down in Boulder.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Jessica's Best Friend

Today was a sad day. A very hard day for everyone, as we lost Jessica's best friend, and a member of the family.

If you caught my blog about 7 weeks ago, you know that she was diagnosed with bone cancer, and not a whole lot we could do, other than make her as happy and comfortable as possible. It's incredibly hard on everyone that knows Jordan, but Jessica has truly lost her best friend. Jordan was that stable fixture through the time in everyone's life, which is always so complex, when you move out on your own, and are facing the world by yourself for the first time.

Going to the vet today, "Foofie" had an entire motorcade... Jessica and her mom came, Alex in her car, and then me in mine. And at we all tried to take some comfort in the fact that somehow, Jordan's favorite place to visit is the vet. And what better way to go than with so many people!? Amazing how much she loved the vet, even with all that she had been through. Two complete ACL reconstructions, cysts that had to be removed, arthritis... and still, always ready to "run" up those steps so the vet could give her a cookie. The vet apparently has the best tasting dog biscuits if you ask Jordan.

Everyone will miss Jordan for her eternally happy soul. No matter what, she would always be ready with a happy face, and an excited attitude. Jordan absolutely loved to meet new people. And thrived on the way she attracted attention anytime she was in public - just as you would think an incredibly friendly, 170lb., ginormous dog would do. No one could resist coming over to pet her, and she ate it up!

I haven't known Jessica, or this house, without Jordan. So it will be hard to adjust to not having her around. There is a huge empty space without her in the house. And not just because of her size, but because of her personality and the space she occupied in everyone's heart. No doubt, it will be incredibly hard to sleep tonight without her snoring at the foot of the bed.