Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Changing Gears

Last Friday Kevin was kind enough to host Seth and I at his house, in order to make the drive to Fort Collins a bit more bearable for our race start of 7.30am. Plus, I offered up my services to build his shiny new bike up. Seth and I hit up a ride, ate some pasta, and then they pulled out the chairs to hang out and watch me build. It was a pretty easy build, though it still pissed me off, because when it was complete, Kevin's bike was ridiculously light, and very shiny - I was jealous. I shouldn't complain too much; my bike is shiny. But man, 14lbs. of bike for Kevin - you stomp the pedals on that thing, and it's gone!

7.30am start time means watching the sun come up from the car;

There are a lot of times when you race bikes, that you hit the first effort of the day, and you know straight away that it's not going to be a fun day. I had that sensation on Saturday. To rub the point home, the first effort of the day came all of about 500 meters into the race. I rode, it hurt, I sucked, game over.

After that debacle, it was time to change gears and to focus solely on wedding stuff. Sunday was spent doing lots of cleaning around the house, driving around Boulder to various craft stores searching for wedding stuff, and trying to take care of tying up loose ends on the wedding front.

Monday Jessica and I got up and went down to the County Records office to pick up our shiny and official wedding license. We both thought at the same time, how funny it was that they ask you point-blank, "Are the two of you brother and sister, or related on other terms?" I had to stop myself from asking, "How often do you have people ask, 'just how "related" are we allowed to be'?" It was also funny that we had to "swear an oath" that we weren't related, or already married to another. It was hard not to laugh, since again, I was wondering which demon would get our souls if we lied.

People start showing up for the wedding in a mere week... so I'm running around like madman, trying to prepare (and Jessica too!). This week is busy... but next week should make it seem like a vacation. But I will try not to complain, because it should be a blast at the same time!

Today was Bike to Work Day here in Colorado. I try to ride to work somewhat regularly, but definitely try to ride on Bike To Work Day - even though the bike paths are 10x more dangerous than normal! I used to like BTWD when I was Greeley, it was a lot of fun. Even then, not that many people would ride, but I would get up early with some friends, and take the extended way to work, hitting up several of the breakfast stations, and chatting with many of the sponsoring business owners that I knew. More than once, I even had my favorite coffee shop owner, bring a special Americano just for me, rather than the drip coffee everyone else was getting. On the other hand in Boulder, there are literally 50 breakfast stops in town, and they all seem to have long lines, and you have people that don't work, and may or may not be bums, also in line.

I always hope that getting people out for BTWD will make people realize how great the weather typically is here in Colorado, and that it really isn't that much work to commute on your bike. But they quickly forget, and go back to the car. Me, well I'm planning on taking the long way home today, since I have the cross bike, and that means I'll get to hit up some singletrack along the way.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Rist Canyon Time

Holy crap... only TWO WEEKS left until D-Day! So much left to do, but I'm excited for family and friends to make it into town so everyone can get some face to face time, and we can start the celebrations!

Tomorrow we're off to Fort Fun, for some early morning racing. It's time for the Rist Canyon Road Race. I really love this loop, and it's always fun to go back and ride it as when I first moved out to Colorado I lived right on it. And I rode it fairly often... one of my first forays up into the big hills. I still remember the shock and absolute bliss, that descending for 13 straight miles can bring out... as long as it isn't hailing or snowing...

The only bummer is that "racing" this course, is a whole different day from "riding" this course. No real time to enjoy the scenery, the wooded climbs, or the twisting, descent. Instead, I will likely be cross-eyed, trying to follow a wheel, any wheel, and trying to remember to stay hydrated and fueled up without burning too many matches all at once. And with the last minute course change, it looks like we attack stadium hill right from the start. That means there will be no easing-into the festivities tomorrow, even with a 7.30am start. The only consolation is that I should be back in bed for my nap by noon.

While I'm facing down the barrel of tomorrow's race, it's good to see that the boys on the team are representing quite well out at the Tour de Nez! Yesterday Baker pulled in a sweet 2nd place finish, in the downtown crit, putting the purple and orange colors up on

Yesterday I made it out for the Bus Stop ride. Not often I make the Thursday ride, and I probably should have listened to the cycling gods - 150 meters from the car my tire exploded. Quick tube change and we're off (Walker had come up to see what this ride was all about), though not without noticing, and reinforcing a huge tear in the tread of my tire. Ugh... Perfect day for the ride though; hot and with minimal wind. Once we hit Lyons though, I was having issues with my tire again, and it had also become evident that I didn't properly adjust a newly installed wheel the night before. So I stopped and fixed, it. Luckily with the way the ride goes, we were able to cruise along and jump back in when the ride came around. I felt good and went back to turnin' the screws. And on the hard lead-in, I was there turning the screws again, when the tire finally gave and blew again. Damn. Mostly I felt bad that I had to pull Craig out of the ride, so he could save me with his additional tube and air.

I noticed on the way home, that the cycling gods left a huge bank of clouds in their wake, as they headed further southwest to harass some other poor soul;

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Last night Jessica and I were in Ned and I finally convinced her to hit up Wild Mountain Smokehouse and Brewery. It's one of the newer additions to the list of restaurants in town, and while Jessica had been there a few time, I never have. I can never resist a place that has hot pretzels on the menu, and theirs was one of the better ones. I also went with the pulled pork sandwich, along with their Memphis Style BBQ sauce. A nice vinegary, tangy sauce, with a bit more black pepper than is traditional, but I'm not one to complain when anyone goes that route. "Would you like a dollop of coleslaw on top of your sandwich?" Now THAT's what I'm talking about... you know I do! All around it was pretty darn tasty. Plus it was even early enough, and warm enough for us to have our dinner out on the patio, watching the sun set over the divide.

I was looking forward to trying some of their beer as well, but then noticed that they had Avery on tap... and somehow I have yet to try their White Rascal Belgian Wit. And I'm glad I did! It was definitely a tasty beer on tap. I'm going to have to pick up a six pack of this stuff!

Speaking of tasty... pictures are starting to roll out on the 2009 Campy Super Record Groupo! While it's all pretty cool and what not, and definitely makes for some fine eye-candy, I have a hard time getting too excited about it.

I mean... who the hell is going to afford this stuff!? It's listed at 23 freakin' hundred euros! That's 3572.37 devalued American dollars at today's exchange rate! Yeah right... you can buy a fully equipped, ready to roll Trek Mad-One 5.2 Pro! Sure, it's "only" equipped with Shimano Ultegra, so your friends won't be quite as impressed, but only the silliest of riders would find much of anything to complain about with the overall performance.

Speaking of over-hyped marketing and pricing... I was in the store the other day looking for a simple axillary cable. Just a double-ended 3.5mm headset jack cable, so I could hook my MP3 player to my car stereo (yes, finally). With limited time, I popped into one of the local electronics stores. They had just the cable I was looking for, ON SALE for a whopping $22! Yeah, right. I was bummed no sales guy stopped by to ask me if he could help, because I would have loved the chance to ask if they were pulling some sort of prank. I decided to do without the cable and left. I knew another large store had them much, much cheaper (never mind that you can find them for a whopping $3 online!). The next store, all I could find were the same cables, but at the slightly better price of $14.99. I searched and searched, but nothing cheaper. Until I walked to the other side of the aisle, which had cables for televisions and such, rather than MP3 players, and whaddya know? There is EXACTLY the same cable (though slightly different packaging) for $5.99. I guess that means MP3 players are roughly 60% more popular than televisions.

Speaking of getting ripped off... I was amazed during the race on Saturday, that I had lost so much time. I mean, I got dropped, but was riding pretty steady, and at a decent pace. I passed the group coming the other way, and figured the turn around should be just up ahead. Instead, I kept going and going and going. "Holy crap... I must have blacked out, or been abducted by aliens, and have missing time, when I should have been riding" I thought to myself... in between curse words... But then I found out this week that because of cows on course, the main group turned around early! The cows had been cleared off the road when I got up there, and instead, I had ridden all the way to the intended turn-around, adding a whole extra climb (and then some!) to my adventure! Fabulous! It sure would have been nice for anyone to mention that along the way.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Racing in Glenwood Springs

After a night of fun at the Roller Derby, I was off early so I could head west with Walker for some racing in Glenwood Springs. Sadly Jessica didn't get to go, and instead got to spend a weekend at home (for a change!) and hang out with our little collection of animals.

Driving to the race really wasn't all that bad, I mean other than the delay when someone decided to play "pinball" with their car in the Eisenhower Tunnel just before we got there, the drive didn't take any longer than going to the race in Hugo. And let me tell you... driving west is a hell of a lot more scenic than driving east when you live on the front range!

The racing: Well, let's sum this up all quick-like... for me, it was crap. It was one of those weekends where the legs just weren't there. Saturday was the 75 mile road race. I started out feeling fine, not spectacular, but fine. 2 meters after the end of the neutral start, the attacks came one after the other. I was able to follow some moves, kept an eye on things at the front, and had no trouble moving around in the pack. Then we hit the next section of course with several little "powerclimbs", nothing I should have had trouble with, yet the legs just totally shut down. I shouldn't have been having trouble, but for whatever reason, the body just wasn't responding. I could have pulled the plug and rode straight home, but instead I was stubborn and figured I'd turn it into a lovely "training ride". Plus, the course was quite scenic, and it was all roads that were new to me. It still sucked just because I was cranky...

After the race we continued on to he Berger household, since Harry was kind enough to provide host-housing for Walker and myself in the always scenic New Castle. Seth was staying in the same town, and I convinced him and a few of his teamates to join us at one of the local eateries for dinner. After that, Seth came back with us to round out a perfect foursome for several games of quoits until the sun went down. Walker and I barely won in the last tie-breaker game!

Sunday we were up early, and Harry invited us up into the hills for some exploratory 4-wheelin' and to see how the trail conditions were shaping up after a long winter. It's always a blast to be back on a 4-wheeler! Especially with Harry letting me take the wheel of the 400EX!

The area around New Castle is beautiful, and this is some of the greenest I've seen it.

We had a real "biker-gang" with a pair of Harry's friends meeting up with us for the trip.

How about the beaver dam in the center of this picture, in the water!? It was HUGE! Craig won, as he was the only one able to huck a rock all the way out to it.

On the way home from 4-wheelin', Harry took us out to see Harvey Gap State Park. I wish we had more time, as the water looked inviting (yet cold), and chillin' along the water sounded like a great idea!

Harvey Gap was just off the aptly named "Grass Valley Road", and further testament to the beauty that's easy to find in the area.

Soon enough it was time for racing again. The crit course was far from flat, was definitely technical with some less-than-fun turns and some still soft chip seal pavement. While the road race was an awesome course, I think they could have done better with the crit course. It was nice that it was just a block off the main drag downtown though. I continued Saturday's performance, with crap legs again, and quickly joined Seth on the sidelines, hanging in a local yard watching the race go by, and cooling off with some fresh lemonade. The Tarkington took a convincing win for the orange and purple though! Then Harry and I found some shade and watched Walker in the Cat3 race. He looked good, though too good, so I had to reprimand him for not attacking when it was time. Still... a good job though...

Just before leaving town we swung past the sweet "water park" that Glenwood built in the river to create some obstacles. And with the recent run-off, the river was definitely moving! We got there just in time to see several guys get pitched from their raft, and leave this guy stuck in the rapid. He worked for a good 10 minutes before finally bailed from the raft, which then also let the raft break free.

Even some surfers were working the waves... definitely a strange sight in the way more than land-locked state of Colorado.

After that, all that was left was the drive home. At least it was actually a pretty great drive home, with both a lack of ski traffic, and a lack of constant fear of sliding off one of the ice and snow covered passes, as the weather was perfect. We even managed a great sighting of crazy travelers; this time someone that had very diligently installed a window air conditioner in the back window of their passenger van;

More Derby Action

Friday night it was time once again to visit the Roller Dolls down at the Coliseum. And this time, we were playing against a tough, out of state team, Texas Rollergirls Honkey Tonk Heartbreakers. I don't like them... they stomped us. I'm not sure why, and I don't want to make excuses, but we were missing some of our better players for whatever reason.

The Jammers ready to start the action;

Crash Dance is always ready to roll;

There was lots of great action, though The Mile High Club was often playing catch-up;

As always at the roller-derby, there were plenty of people dressed in their finest clothes;

Or they are primped with fantastic hair styles - I'm not sure what's going on here, but I'm guessing it has something to do with striped polo shirts and possibly too much of the ol' PBR;

For halftime with the Roller Dolls, you never know what kind of show you are going to get, but I've yet to be disappointed. Last time was a wedding, the time before was disco-dancing roller skaters and before that was competition type synchronized dancing jump-rope people. This time it was a demonstration of "flyball" one of those competitions that makes you almost start to think that dog-show people are "normal". But they aren't... but flyball is pretty cool. I should build a race track and have all the friends with dogs come up and see what happens.

Also at halftime it was up to DumpTruck and one of the refs to decide who had the best banner, and it took some serious discussion;

Bonnie was the newbie at the derby this time, and that meant it was her turn to get her picture with DumpTruck!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Yep... it's still windy... And while yesterday was a glorious 90+ degrees, today it's much cooler, with a cold wind, and snow in the high country! Despite the cooler temps, it was still pretty nice cruising down the bike path on my way to work this morning. Though it reminded me of the bike paths surrounding Perth. As nice as the bike paths are in Boulder (definitely helped by the fact that you can get anywhere in town on one!), they just don't compare to ones like this - just 3 blocks away from downtown;

After yesterdays visit to the Bus Stop ride, in hot, windy conditions with not nearly enough water, I stopped at the grocery for some liquids. Along my journey, this caught my eye;

...and I threw up just a little bit in my mouth! Good god... do people really drink this stuff!? I mean admittedly, I'm not a big fan of tomato juice as it is... then you throw clam juice in it? Then you throw Budweiser in it? With a touch of lime and salt? Seriously, I think I'm getting sick again. That in no way sounds even possibly appetizing to me. At least no one ruined a REAL beer by putting tomato and clam juice into it!

It's so very close to wedding time, and that means surfing all those fabulous wedding sites for really fun stuff like guest books. I came across the Mossy Oak tuxedo vest a few months back when I was looking at tuxes, and thought it was just plain hysterical (Even though I'm pretty sure I could name several people that would jump at the chance to wear it in their wedding)!

But things took a big step downwards yesterday when I found the "Discerning Camouflage Guest Book"! Umm... that's just downright funny. Makes me wish I was going to a wedding where I saw that on the reception table, just for the laugh. Secondly, I don't feel that I even need to address the fact that they used the word "Discerning" in the name of this product. AND if that isn't bad enough, be sure to check the same page; where you can also get a matching ring pillow, and EVEN a matching garter. I wonder if these items are as popular as I fear on military bases around the country?

And finally today... I think I have a new project in the works!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


For those of you that are wondering, it's Tuesday now, and the wind hasn't let up for a second. At least it's warm (most of the time), and fairly sunny, but bike rides sure would be more fun with less wind. Oh well, without wind and crappy weather, how would you ever appreciate those days with calm wind and warm temperatures?

Speaking of riding... I like my days at work a whole lot more when the view from "my desk" looks like this;

Pretty regularly I have to play courier, and run things back and forth from one campus to another. The bus is fun and all, you meet all kinds of characters, and might even sneak in a nap... but why not go for a little spin and get some breeze in the face to wake you up instead? It's a short jaunt down the bike path to the other campus, and is actually quicker than taking the bus anyway - I'll have to work at that though, since I am at WORK after all! The hardest part of the ride, especially on a nice warm day like today, is to avoid giving into the temptation to just stop and hand out along the nice cool creek.

Speaking of riding... I think I reached my breaking point last night during my fill up at the petrol station. I mean, I hate buying gas when it is $2, never mind when it's twice that! I won't go int the many reasons it's all crap... not to mention that as much as we complain, we still pay less than most of the world for our oil addiction, but still... it's crap. I need to ride the bike to and from work more, especially since I can take advantage of my eco-pass as well, to switch the journey up sometimes. I'd ride every day if it weren't for that 3000ft. vertical wall that I need to climb in order to get home. If it would start being more than 36 degrees in the morning, it would be easier to get out the door on the bike. And coming home, on the days when I need a change, I can ride the path to the canyon, take the bus up to Ned, and then ride singletrack on the way home. I need to also get on that, while our days are long.

Speaking of riding... this past weekend was the State TT. As expected it was warm and windy and boring. I think I'm getting less motivated to keep riding this same course over and over. All the more so when the times were bound to be slow because of a raging wind. Blah. The legs felt good, but getting the power out of them proved difficult, as I wasn't quite as motivated as I hoped. Oh well, I still have fun at that race just because you seldom get to ride a (nearly) 40k time trial.

Sunday Jessica, Alex and myself went down to town for breakfast, and to pick out some new lilac bushes. Hopefully they'll like their new home in our yard. For afternoon fun, Jeff, Craig and Joey came up to join us for some paintball action. It was a slightly small group, but still fun, and Jessica even came out to join us. I've gotta admit, I have mixed feelings about shooting my girlfriend/fiance in the head... but I mean it came down to just the two of us, and one of us had to go - and it wasn't going to be me! But no worries, everyone was brought back to life just in time for some grilling and beer-consumption after the game.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Sunny... Windy... Friday!

In case you didn't think recumbents were dorky, and you were thinking about getting one, I give you this example; gotta be the dorkiest of all recumbents!

That's right... from the makers of Dog Powered, comes the Dog Powered Trike! It's seems like a fun way to get Fido some exercise, but man, would I not want to be seen in public being such a dork. I think the scooter might even be worse than the trike. I mean, it's a scooter! You can even set up FOUR dogs on the same scooter! Now there's some power!

It's sunny and windy today, but that's just the usual weather coming in for the State Time Trial tomorrow. Typical, very typical. So not too much going on today, other than to get out on the TT bike a bit, and make sure everything is tight, and open the legs up.

At least Formula1 returns this weekend, with racing in Canada! Sweet! Friday Practice coverage will be on tonight, a great way to relax and hydrate. There is rain in the forecast for all weekend, which could make things interesting. Though maybe not as crazy as the last race in Monaco! Now that was a great race to watch! Nothing like rain in Monaco! The skill those guys need is tough enough, but then throw those cars on the Monaco circuit, AND throw in some rain, and the difficulty level goes off the charts. After a serious scare when Hamilton clipped a wall and punctured the right rear, he came back with some amazing driving to take the win! Read a great interview here with the podium placers.

It's sunny now, but last night it was still cloudy, rainy and cold. There was a big ol' front still stuck on the divide at sundown and fresh snow in the high mountains this morning;

Though the air was clear, and there was just a sliver of moon left right now;

Sounds like it should be a busy weekend of racing, cleaning, wedding planning, paintball, grilling, yard work and more I'm sure!

Thursday, June 5, 2008


It's apparently time for the monsoon season... lots of rain in the forecast this week. Though when I thought about it, I don't think it would be right if I didn't need to ride the trainer at least one or two nights in the week prior to the state time trial. I seem to remember riding the trainer every year, the week before the race, but at least it's always sunny and hot when the little beeper on the timer tells you to "go". And this year looks like more of the same - clearing up tomorrow, then hot with gusty winds on Saturday.

When it's raining and you are on your bike and still need to get home, you might call your friend to have her pick you up. A lot like these two that I spotted on my journey home last night;

Usually I would have put the bike in the trunk. But these two went for the back seat option. And though the bike had both front and rear quick releases (I checked) they choose not to use them, and instead went for sticking a bit of wheel out BOTH sides of the car. That's okay, just keep the door open, and hold it "somewhat" closed as you drive down the road. Sadly the picture doesn't show that the driver was doing the same thing on her side.

After the trainer ride, watching the hail come down, there wasn't much to do between storms, and the doggies needed to go out. So I brought the camera along to play, with no real goal in mind. Twin Sisters was socked-in;

Tayler was oblivious to the rain, especially while she had a stick of her very own to play with;

At least all the rain means things are greening up nicely;

I haven't even had to water my little grass seedlings for the past 3 days;

The wild flowers are all popping up, and offered up a good chance to play with camera's macro setting - at least the ones that hadn't been smashed by the hail;

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Not too much going on here... well, work has been a lot like work lately, starting to scramble to get things done for that little party coming up in July, doing spring cleaning around the house, and the usual riding.

Saturday was the ever-exciting Hugo Road Race, so the day began early, getting up, feeding the endless line of pets, eating some breakfast, and then pointing the car east. It was hot at the start of the race, and with with a mostly head/cross wind, the race was bound to be fairly interesting straight away. And it was, there was some pretty constant attacking until finally a sizable group got away. We were nice and attentive, and managed to stick 4 in the break - good news for us! So Joe and I got to work disrupting the chase, and marking any moves. Some chasing went on, but died down before too long. On the southern part of the course, the pace got crazy again, and I always seem to have issues with that section for some reason. Not helped by the gaps that were opening, after closing a couple, I didn't close anymore. Oh well, time to set off in TT mode. I caught one guy and the two of us cranked along quite nicely for a good while, picking up others along the way. Eventually the group got bigger, then got smaller, but by then, I was mostly just thinking about riding the race as quickly as possible so we could get home and go get ice cream.

Sunday I got to sleep in, and have my coffee late. I had deemed it "chore day" and it was a perfect day to be outside the whole time, doing the endless list of things around the house. No matter how much I do, my OCD makes me notice thing after thing that I'd like to change/fix/clean-up, whatever. The best part of the day was that it was indeed one of the first weekend where you really could be outside for the entirety of both days without some crazy snow storm or cold front blowing in.

I recently had another project, this one #0508-H02... after seeing our new house number, Jessica's mom asked if she couldn't get one as well. So I went back to work with the task of making another one, but one that didn't look too horribly similar to ours, and I came up with this;

Next I really need to just finish up that second ramp I was going to make. I have all the materials just laying in a pile, and I need to clean that pile up anyway. Might as well just nail it all together!