Friday, May 22, 2009


It's time for the best Formula 1 race of the year... the Monaco Grand Prix!

The least suited course of the year, for the potential of the Formula 1 cars, but easily the most popular race, with drivers, fans, everyone! Personally I don't think I would want to try to race there, but more than anywhere else, I'd love to spend race weekend in the city. Mooring fees for the harbor on race weekend, are a mere $30,000. But that's okay, I don't have a yacht anyway.

There's some of that bike racing going on locally this weekend as well. Friday night is the Superior TT. A nasty little, seven mile individual effort, with nearly 900 feet of climbing. Throw in the usual wind, and it's a tough course, for sure!

I'll probably skip the Louisville crit on Saturday, so I can get some stuff done around the house, and go visit the new nephew! Sunday it's back to racing with the Koppenberg race. Another evil race, this one definitely wins for how deceptive it can be... just a 5.5 mile loop, with 2.5miles of dirt, including a 200 meter, 17% climb, that has questionable traction on the best of days! We "only" do 8 laps... but it's the longest 45 miles you would want to do.

But that's okay... it's Memorial Day weekend! So it's a 3-day weekend of course... except for poor Jessica who has to work. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the weather forecasters are wrong again, and it won't rain, and hopefully I can go throw down a shit-ton of miles on the Ninja!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Steve Larsen RIP

Man... bummer news coming out this morning about Steve Larsen passing away last night. Original thinking was a heart attack, but now that might be changing. RIP Steve.

Today while working in the IT department, where we are working on implementing a new full-blown, 10 petaflop super computer for the campus... I helped someone figure out how to use the microfiche machine to find a telephone bill from 1990.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ringers Bring Storms

I love the warmer weather, and I love that last night I got out the GPS and surveying equipment so that I could properly set-up and align the quoit boards;

But I'm not as crazy about the afternoon thunderstorms that always seem to want to roll through right at 4.30 (hopefully they'll stay away tonight). Nor am I too enthused about the 1972 air conditioning unit in our building, which works about as well as opening your oven door.

And these days, I just can't think of thunderstorms, without a terrifying image creeping into my head... the same image that Denver International Airport actually uses to PROMOTE it's $2 million, horrifying sculpture, "Mustang", or as I prefer, "Blue-cifer"

While I readily admit if I owned a child-molester-type van, I would totally consider having that image air-brushed onto the side of it... it's not the image that I want in my head, when I'm heading to the airport and about to take a trip in a metal tube flying at 30,000 feet up.

We MUST ban together people, before Blue-cifer and his minions kill us all!!!!

It's killed before, it will kill again!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Summer? Is That You?

Another weekend in the books...

I got a short ride in on Friday, before the rain showers, and picking up my race numbers for the weekend races. I loved the idea of picking up my race numbers a block from work, on Friday, so I wouldn't have to deal with it this weekend. Until the choad running registration tried tell me I never sent a check in. Maybe it was my fault, but nope, I checked, and sure enough there was the copy of the check I wrote (not to mention the race promotor called me on another issue, and let me know that my checks were received and I was all paid up). I even called my bank, while standing in line a second time, and sure enough, the race had lost track of me paying, but didn't seem to have any problem cashing my check a week prior. Still, all would have been fine until the ass-tard told me, "Well, I'll trust you, but you're only cheating the promoter if you lied". Fuck head... I was too surprised, and not feeling like calling him out in front of everyone in line, so I'll wait to call him out once I have his name.

Anyway... Saturday morning was the Sunshine Hill Climb. A weird course to race, since I think I ride at least a good portion of the climb at least once every week. The race makes it less fun, since my body objects to both the (usually) cold temps and riding hard at 8am... not to mention the talent this race always pulls. Either way, most of us have to resign ourselves to a painful 50 minute TT... it's not so hard for some of the guys;

The ride goes up a good amount, and then turns to dirt and goes up some more;

The pace started off quick, right away, as expected; "neutral-start" my ass. Before long it was into solo TT mode, climbing away. About 3 miles from the top I started to feel warmed-up finally, and was feeling stronger... just in time for the shifting gremlins to take over, and start messing with my gears. I finished frustrated, losing time, and with about two gears. Not that it would have put me into an awesome placing, but frustrating to finish with a good amount in the tank. The good news was that it was 2 minutes faster than last year, and it wasn't snowing at the top.

After I got home and warmed up with some more coffee, and relaxed for awhile, the weather started to clear out, and temps warmed up. So I took off down to Aurora to visit Craig and Jeff and see the newest rental property in the block that Jeff is trying to buy up. It was too nice to stay for long, so I hit out to meet up with Randy, and we took a nice loop up the canyon and along Peak-to-Peak. Caught some dinner in Ned, and then headed home, for 100+ miles, and nice long day! The weather was perfect!

Sunday was the stupid North Boulder Park Crit. Far from one of my favorites. My BAR/BAT decoder ring was not properly calibrated, and I signed up for the racing, thinking that it was BAR/BAT. And not just one, but signed up for TWO goes at the course. I showed up at the start of the 35+ race at noon, and the first-aid tent was already out of "Medical Occurance Forms", and there was a line forming to get your wounds scrubbed... great.

First up was the Cat2 race for me. I was active at the start, but there was only like two teams with numbers, and not many people willing to share the work. Racing solo I decided I should relax and sit in. Which of course meant that someone decided to crash in front of me. I avoided, and then had to chase back on, as it seemed everyone else was content to not get back into the action. By 35 minutes in, I was bored, and really not having fun on this course. By 45 minutes in, someone else crashed in front of me. I avoided, and then had to chase back on, just about got there, and then rememebered how little fun I was having to begin with, and pulled the plug.

I caught the final 5 laps from the sidelines... when a break of 5 formed. Then one guy from the break took himself out with 2 laps to go, followed by another guy doing the same thing on the final lap. Ridiculous.

An hour to hang out, and then the P/1/2 race. I think we started late as they called the 25 or so paid (or at least contract holding) professionals in attendance up to the start line. Surprisingly, the legs weren't too bad, and sitting near the back of the group was maneagable, closing a few gaps as they opened here and there... That is until the same dude that caused the first crash in the Cat2 race, fucked up the same exact corner and put his bike sideways. I avoided, and then had to chas back on (sounding familiar yet?). I chased pretty well, considering I lost everyone that was behind me, I made it back, yo-yo'd for a few laps not being able to recover, and then, once again remembered how much fun I wasn't having, and pulled the plug.

At least the weather was hot, I didn't go down in any of the crashes I got to watch up close, and I had ice cream for dinner. I've decided yesterdays pair of socks are unlucky, and I won't be wearing them for races again.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

SK8 or Die... With Tony Hawk!

The weather is finally starting to turn around... at least for now. Last night I went outside at 7.45pm, and it was still so stinkin' nice, I just couldn't resist. I just had to fire up the Ninja, and take off for a cruise to nowhere! Nothing like a lovely little night time canyon run! It was so much stinkin' fun, but also made me want some brighter lights. Riding up Magnolia gets to be more fun every time too!

Pretty awesome news coming out today!
Kids have it so easy these days... especially in Colorado. I mean, there is basically a full-blown skate park in nearly every single town! And some of them, are just downright awesome. "Back in the day" when I was just a wee-lad, I aws constantly fighting authorities and local rules, trying to skateboard myself, from one spot to another as we would constantly being chased away from our newest finds. Or filling backpacks with water and skating down the highway (literally) a good 5 miles, because we had friends that told us of magical banks, or friends of friends with halfpipes in the yard. Of course, a lot of that is what made skateboarding so damn fun. Luckily my parents must have thought my rebelliousness would build character. Or perhaps they were thinking along the lines of what I would tell the cops when chased out of late-night spots... "Fine, I can't skate (you pig) so I figure I'll just go home and drink and do some fucking drugs".

Regardless, I was pretty impressed a couple years ago to see that a group of citizens had banded together in our little town of Nederland, to try to build a skatepark for the community, since the town themselves did not have the money. The locals were at least afforded a modest space in the parking lot of the Teen Center, where they could set up some beaten-down, cobbled together rails and ramps. I was happy to support the effort, all the more so since the kids were actually working for their park.

Eventually, I admit, I was surprised when they had pulled together most of the funding for the park, and were scheduled to start construction. But definitely I was psyched! I was WAY more impressed once I climbed the fence during the construction to see how things were shaping up! Not just some cute little park in a small mountain town... this park was shaping up to be some serious shit! With some absolutely mind-bending terrain!

The park has been open for 6 months now, and there are people skating anytime I go past. I thought about hitting it on a weekday, while the kids were at school, but I'm pretty sure that most of the skaters in Ned were skipping school at first, so they could spend all day skating... and who can blame them!?

And now... with the official Grand Opening Celebrations for the Nathan Lazarus Skatepark coming on Memorial Day weekend... but with the major news that the man, the myth, the legend Tony Hawk, and his Birdhouse crew will be there... well, that's just incredible! Tony Hawk's first years as a pro, were just as I was starting to skate myself. And if you were in a similar situation, there is no way he wouldn't be an influence for you.

The town should be a mess that weekend, but I think I'll have to try to stop by, just to check things out.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Somehow... Monday Is Already Back

Friday night Jessica and I hit out of town, so we could catch opening night at her latest play, The Fantastics, playing at the Denver Victorian. It was extra sweet for Jessica, since opening means that her schedule will ease up, and she won't be at the theater until 11pm every night. And if we're lucky, we might even get to have a meal with one another again. Anyway the show... it was a pretty good opening night. It's starting to get strange, knowing lots of the people in the audience some days. It's a musical, which often don't float my boat, but this one was just fine. Check it out if you get a chance.

It was nice to sleep in on Saturday, with no alarm. Though we were still up early enough so we could head into town for hippy muffins and a cup of joe, before I was heading off to the annual Wheels of Thunder extravaganza. Christian rock music was pumping at the start to get everyone amped up for some quality racing, and with sprint primes every other lap, the racing was sure to be pretty constant. We had our fullest team yet, with 4 of us, plus Randy joining us after his race in the 35+ race.

You can never tell how this race might shake out, depending on what the wind does, and what kind of talent shows up, so we decided to play it pretty aggresively - following all the moves, and making sure to get someone into everything, or at least chase it down. Which, we did to a pretty good extent! With about 5 laps to go, Seth and I chased down a dangerous looking move, which took a hard effort. On my way to the back to recover, I found Zac, and wanted to make sure he got to the front to help Chuck and to use his own sprint as well. In the process of moving him up, I followed a surge, and the two of us, along with some other good horsepower ended up with a slight gap with 3 to go. Unfortunately we were reeled back with just over 1.5 to go, which was about it for me. But Zac was at the front now, and he was able to lead out Chuck for a killer sprint from way out. Chuck ended up with the win, and took 3 primes in the process! Great race all around, as the team worked well together, and we were visible all day, working hard. Hopefully we'll keep riding this wave.

By late Saturday, the weather was complete crap. Socked in with rain, fog and clouds, and nothing but promises of the same for Sunday. So much for my plans to get out and add some mileage to the Ninja! Grrr... Instead it was a day to stay inside, get caught up on tv and build some wheels;

I built a wild set of the Edge 1.24 rims as well, using Extralite hubs, and for the first time, some of the DT new-aero WHITE spokes. The spokes are very blingy (and I was too lazy to take a photo!)... and blingy to the true extent of the word! They cost about $6 per spoke, so you pay through the nose for that little bit of style. Silly.

Like I said, it was foggy, rainy and grey... but even in those conditions, this is no way to drive your Volvo up Magnolia;

Today the sun is back out, and it was a perfect day to eat lunch outside. So I hit up LarkBurger with Duane. Pretty good burgers, nice and messy, but still a bit overpriced in my mind. At least they had orange soda for me...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Been A Cop Long?

The weather is trying to do better this week. Yesterday was nice, but then I made the mistake up riding up to Gold Hill. Much like Ward, this spot always seems to have crappy weather. Along the climb, it got windier, much colder, and even rained a bit. But I shouldn't complain, it was a pretty nice climb.

I never seem to remember that no matter how warm it is in town, descending Lefthand is always freezing cold in the evenings, this time of year. But a few more climbs to warm things up for me, and finished with a good 5000ft. of climbing yesterday.

Today is even nicer, though the wind is picking up. But it's nice enough that I managed to ride the Ninja to work today! Sitting in traffic still sucks on a motorcycle, but at least it was a nice drive down the canyon! Too bad I can't just hop on the bike path once I'm in town!

Things were all looking up this week, until I stumbled (somewhat late) onto the news that Dom DeLuise passed away this week. That's truly sad news, as he can only be classified as an extremely funny and entertaining man.

Who won't miss Captain Chaos, in one of the best movies ever made?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Where is Summer?

Believe me... I like rain. It's pretty cool. Nothing like sleeping for an entire day while it's grey and dark and pouring rain all day. Of course, you really don't get days like that, out here in Colorado. Instead, you get the shitty weather we've been having - below normal temps, unpredictible occasional rain showers blowing through, wind, clouds, and general crappiness.

Saturday was cold and wet, so I opted to not drive down to Golden for 19 minutes of racing at the Lookout Hillclimb. Which was really kind of a bummer. Sunday was supposed to be similar weather, but it actually turned out pretty nice. I hit up the Rabbit Mountain TT. As always seems to be the case for me at this race, I had a non-ideal warm-up and felt pretty crappy for the individual time trial. To be fair, my training has really been off for the past two weeks, and no doubt, that it showed in the time trial. Feeling crappy, I ended up over-compensating, and saved a bit too much for the end.

After that "warm-up", Chuck came and joined Seth and I for the team trial. It was us vs. just Vitamin Cottage... and with just two teams that meant extra pressure... because we were either going to be first or last. Nothing in between. VC had 4 guys to our 3, and I know the three of us had never ridden a TTT together. But once we started rolling, things went pretty smoothly. The pulls of the two big guys started to hurt me as the hill got steeper, but we rode well. I couldn't see even my front wheel for the final 200 meters but it was just enough to squeak by with the win - a margin of just 4 seconds.

I was out on a mission today, and decided to walk back from campus, rather than risk Swine-Flu infection by riding the bus. I mean, with 6 cases out of the 4,939,456 people (US Census estimate 2008) in colorado now, that's a full 0.00012% of the people. A pandemic if I ever have seen one. Plus the weather was just nice enough for a walk, and a walk in Boulder always means you will see interesting stuff;

Like the concerned father at the park, that had cornered the parks grounds keeper, with ways that he thought the parks administrators could redesign the playground equipment to make it safer for kids. Because all the plastic bullshit and 4 inches of padding on the ground wasn't safe enough for his kid. Christ... whatever happened to trying to run down the steel slide? Or getting thwacked in the head by the speeding metal handle on the merry go-round when you are so dizzy you stumble back into it on your own? Kids are freaking soft, and we're all going to pay some day.

But maybe not... I also saw an advert for The Baker Organic breads. They care about the healthy lifestyle that we want to live. Enough so that they use organic ingredients to even craft "Lifestyle breads", including, of course "Yoga bread". I have no idea what the hell Yoga bread is, and the page doesn't describe it nearly as well as I think they could. All I can imagine is that it's bread that you pay money for, and then go sit on a special mat, in special stretchy pants and eat with your bare feet. The best thing about it of course, is that you can drone on and on to your friends about how amazing your life is since you found Yoga (bread) and that your inner beauty is really able to shine through after each meal.

Meanwhile, in the real(er) world...

Last week I finished up a set of track wheels for a local guy, that came out really sweet. I'd love to take a couple laps around the track on these, and it should be a big jump in effeciency from the "hipster-fixie" wheels that he had on his track bike. Suzue PRO-MAX carbon hubs, Edge 1.68 rims, Pillar internal nipples, Sapim Race and Laser spokes; laced 28h, 2x all around. Sweet. They came out light, aero and WAY stiff, perfect for the track.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

My Fastest Bike Yet

It's May... I really shouldn't be riding my stupid trainer. My Seasonal Affective Disorder is just starting to kick in, even though it's May, after 5 consecutive weeks of snow, rain, cold temps and general shitty weather. I was hoping to do the Lookout Mountain Hillclimb today, but cold, wet weather, and feeling slightly under the weather, convinced me to stay in bed and try to catch up on some sleep. Well, at least Beverly Hills Cop is on, so I can watch that for the 386th time. Always a winner though.

With all the money I've been saving by NOT racing this year, and with high hopes that spring will still eventually show up, I decided I might as well get a new bike!

I picked up this 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 650r this past week. Sadly, no good pictures of it yet, just these quick snaps all taken on the dealer lot.

It seems to be in perfect condition, other than some purely cosmetic issues on the left side from a tip-over. Just 1500 miles, and it likes to run, so I'm definitely trying to add to that total... if the weather would just cooperate!

120 miles of twisty canyon roads so far... what better way to get to learn your bike? So far I really love the bike, and I look forward to getting to know it better.

Tomorrow it's back to the pedal-bike... riding the Rabbit Mountain TT, and sticking around for a little extra punishment in the Team Time Trial as well. With any luck, I don't have swine flu, and Chuck and Seth will be reasonably nice to me in the TTT. Maybe someday we'll even get some real racing in. Not sure that I've ever looked so forward to racing a crit.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Vegas Picture Dump

This past weekend Jessica and I made a run for the border with Jesse and Brittainy... the border of Las Vegas that is. Brittainy grabbed her seat, and we took a wormhole there, in order to minimize travel time between states, and dimensions.

I just liked this picture... all I can think of when looking at it is Jumping Someone Else's Train;

Once getting into Vegas, we went straight for the Riviera, where we were staying;

These guys behind us at check-in, weren't sure if Vegas was going to have beer, so they brought some of their own, very high-quality Bud Light to the party;

Lights are pretty and stuff;

After some wandering, we ended up finding the deal of the night... $1, 6oz. "margaritas"... they were more like "tequila slurpee's" Yes, that is 99% tequila on the top of that glass;

Finally Friday night started to wind down, and after the $5.49 steak and eggs special, we started on the long walk back to the hotel. Suffice to say, that Saturday morning cartoons were in full swing on the tv, when we got to bed.

Not surprisingly, we chose to sleep in a bit Saturday morning, especially since we had plans for another long night. We eventually made a trip back to the strip, after powering up with Krispy Kremes.

The ladies found some real men to hang out with;

Of course, the water show at the Bellagio;

We were headed to the Bellagio, since we had tickets to see the Cirque Du Soleil show "O"

The ceiling of the theater in the Bellagio;

This was my second Cirque Du Soleil show, and while both were pretty amazing, I liked this one a bit more. It's hard to go into detail of the show without ruining a bunch of what you will see, but believe me, it was an amazing show. Check it out if you get a chance!

We went back after the show, lost some money in the casino, and called it a night after another late bedtime. Sunday we got another late start, slowed by a ginormous all-you-can-eat buffet. Checked out of the hotel, and were off for more Vegas time. Jessica really wanted to go see the Dolphins... I don't remember where... the Mirage, I think?

They did have a pretty cool set up for the dolphins. It was very reef-like and it was all I could do to keep from jumping in to do some snorkling myself! That was until one of the dolphins took a sizeable crap, and then mocked-us;

Dolphins go flippy;

They also had a section with a bunch of giant kitty cats. Lions and tigers and stuff. Jessica finally found one that would give her a ride;

Then... sadly... it was time to head back to the real world, and home. It was a pretty fun whirlwind trip. Not very relaxing since we were all whipped from minimal sleep and eating shitty food... but isn't that what Vegas is all about? The people watching was pretty amazing, and you could find someone to laugh at, at any given moment. But unfortunately it was hard to catch a lot of them on film, in a way that really captured the pure goofiness.

It's been a week now, and I think I am finally, mostly, recovered.