Monday, July 27, 2009

Federalis Center Weekend

Saturday morning was the circuit race at the Federal Center. I haven't had the greatest of luck at this race, but always seem to ride pretty well, so I look forward to it. I was a little curious what they did to the course, since they switched it around a bit. But it seemed all about the same, with a slight reshuffle, adding a couple tighter turns, and a little pop, that I was actually able to recover a bit on, since it was steeper. They also got rid of the sketchy drag up around some building where we dropped down through some skinny section, that I never like. Descriptive, right? I bet you know the sector if you have raced it though. As usual though, lots of shitty shitty pavement, including some freshly chip-n-seal sections, which just tend to make the manholes deeper and more dangerous.

Anyway... it was pretty nice to race at 10am... not too early, and not so late that the motivation starts ticking away. I was patient for a full 1/4 of a lap, before things were going too slowly so I jumped away. I sat off the front, hoping for someone to come across, trying to look as sexy and tempting as possible, but no one was game. Of course, when I came back, the counter-move had a dangerous guy (Krauss) or two, in it. So back to work, just trying to keep things manageable, and hoping that Seth would be impatient, and be able to go across the gap. Once some others finally started to help bring the group back, I was able to recover, before making the move to finally shut down the gap... accidentally taking a nice prime of a 12-pack of Steamworks Brewery. It popped into my head, that it was a prime lap, about 10 meters from the line, and I just happened to be driving hard then, so everyone was happy to stay in line. With the group shut down, I recovered as the counter-moves went, with nothing sticking. I was recovered, and starting to move back up to the front when I wholloped a rock floating around on the course, which instantly flatted my front wheel. Ugh! Damn, and I was feeling good. No worries, Chuck and Seth were looking good. Until a lap later I looked up and Seth was on the sidelines with me, after exploding his rear wheel and puncturing his tire on a pothole himself. Chuck though, smooth as ever...

...picked some less than perfect wheels, but still hammered home a solid third place.

Sunday we got to sleep in, before heading into town for our usual hippie muffins and coffee. It was a cool day with showers threatening, but we decided to do a bit of a hike, and spread the ashes of good ol' Jordan. It was a lovely view from where we went;

Neo, Tayler, Alex and Lucie all came along, though Neo was more concerned with his usual stick - which of course was bigger than him.

The skies weren't the clearest, but our (seemingly) endless rain has sent both the grass and the flowers into overdrive. Perfect flowers that Jordan would have loved, so I took some time to snap a few pictures, playing with the camera, trying to capture some of the color. I have no idea what any of the flowers are, besides the thistles, but they sure is purty and stuff.

Sick Day

It's almost vacation time, and the body is feeling it. The legs have actually been feeling pretty good, turning over nicely, and asking for more. But the brain is fried. Tuesday I got out for the Bus Stop ride, and was feeling good again - unlike the week before. So I got to turn the screws now and again, but was saving most of it for later in the ride, especially with the change in route, which really spices things up some. Instead, it turned into one of those retarded rides that makes you embarassed to be a cyclist.

Coming back through Lyons, the cops were amped-up for some action, especially with annual music festival going on. As we came barreling through town after the first loop, all over the road, speeding, a cop was waiting to pull out behind us, with lights and siren on. That didn't deter anyone, as we still swarmed some cars, passing them on the right, before pulling in front of them for a left turn onto the second fruit loop. More than enough retardardation for me... I sat up in town, and continued up St. Vrain for a while, figuring I'd let things cool off, before heading back through town. Why do people insist on riding like such retards, and so dangerously? I mean really, if I was the person driving through town at the speed limit, while I get swarmed by 50 cyclists, I'd be so pissed. Sounds like the cops busted a couple of riders that got gapped off the group - maybe that should be the punishment for getting dropped? Especially when the guys at the front have to break the laws and ride like morons, just to score those elusive points at the sprint lines.

I guess sitting up worked okay, it meant I was a little more fresh on Wednesday when Seth, Chuck and I drafted Jake Rosenbarger to join our team for a little fun at the 4-man Team Time Trial. The ride went "okay", I thought Seth was going to kill us on his sick pull up the first hill, but I started to settle in, and then was anxious to start pulling through. We went okay in a block headwind, but I think we definitely could have gone faster. I was happy that we were pretty smooth though - it's funny when you can take 4 guys that haven't really ridden together, and they can rotate smoothly in the aerobars on a rolling course like that. As usual, I just feel sorry about my small draft, as I try to sit up as far as possible during my pulls. Good effort though, and the legs wanted more.

Thursday though, I was unfortunately out of work, because I had to call in sick. It was a real shame too, because it would have been a perfect day to sleep in, have some relaxing coffee in the morning, and then head out on the moto.

I bet the tourist-traffic would have been a bit bad around Estes, but the perfect weather would have made it worth it.

The clear skies up on top of Long's would probably have given me the urge to make that summit again!

With any luck, after the moto ride and some rest, I might have been able to gather up the strength to take the doggies into town for some swimming at the reservoir.

Swimming is by far Neo's favorite activity... along with launching into the water for sticks that are heavier than he is;

Even Taylor likes to play in the water occasionaly, though she likes lounging rather than swimming.

The doggies keep an eye out for truancy officers...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Don't Stay Here! Go Outside!

After a long week of work, I decided that I needed to take the long way home from work on Friday, so went north for about 10 minutes and hit up Lefthand Canyon, and up to Brainard Lake.

It was good to get out and clear the mind out of all that work crap. And for once the moto-gods were cooperating and I had ZERO cars in front of me, the entire way up the canyon. Beyond clearing the mind, it was also a good reminder of how lucky we can be to ride around here. I mean, 10 minutes north, and then I had 45 unbroken miles of twisty canyon and mountain roads, with a mere two stop signs along the way. And of course great views!

Continued on the mind cleanse, by going for a run when I got home, and eventually some dinner with Jessica and Alex.

Saturday morning I was up early, trying to sneak in a long ride, before my body figured out what was happening. I left the house and headed down Coal Creek with the thought of meeting up with Seth and some others at the base of Golden Gate Canyon.

Randy, Mike and Leonard also joined us from the team as we slogged our way up. Randy, Seth and I peeled off to take the road less traveled - and by that I mean steeper and loose dirt. We did take the time to stop and enjoy the sites though, and when we rolled past an opening covered in wild-flowers, Seth couldn't resist, and frolicked off to roll in the beauty;

before coming back to Golden Gate to finish the climb. Randy turned, but Seth and I went on, actually catching Mike and Leonard on Peak-To-Peak.

On we went, back to Coal Creek, before I peeled off to hit Magnolia again, on my way back to dropping into Boulder. We only did 85 miles in those 5 hours, but it was a pretty solid amount of climbing. All in all a good ride, and I felt solid the whole time which made it even better. Afterwards, needing a good recovery dinner, I even had French Toast.

Sunday was a pretty lazy day, coffee and hippie muffins in Ned, in the morning, a mostly boring Tour stage on tv, and then snuck out for a quick ride. I did a shorter two hours in the hills, but felt much better than I expected (must have been the French Toast) so I hammered away on the climbs. Spent the evening making dinner with the Wifey, and doing chores around the house, and before I knew it... it was time to head back to work. I woke up this morning (barely) hoping the radio would tell me that work was closed for a snow day...

Friday, July 17, 2009

I just mentioned the Longmont Crit in the last post... which reminded me of the two best lines I overheard that day;
1.) From the registration chick; "Whoah! You're Todd Wells, you're famous! I've watched you race!"
2.) From the goofy Cat4 riding his trainer during his warm-up, surrounded by more bike gear and crap spread all over the sidewalk, than an entire colegiate cycling team; "Honey, could you get me the bag off the seat of the car? The one with all the white pills in it?"

I've been playing with the Ninja, and tweaking a few things. When I bought it, it came with (free of charge!) a bit of cosmetic damage on the left fairing, from the previous owner, who obviously low-sided. I didn't mind it too much, especially since it wasn't broken, just ugly... but that only lasted like 2 weeks before I was trying to figure out what to do with it. I ended up getting some paint, and just touching it up a bit. Before;


It's not perfect, but from 10 feet away, it looks as normal as can be.
The original front signals were a bit ugly in my opinion, and had gotten scratched up a bit in the low-side as well. So I replaced them with some that are much more similar to the ones from a ZX-6, and sit a lot more flush to the bike. You can see the difference in the pictures above, and from the front you can see the old one on the right, and the new one on the left;

Finally, for now, I also got some matching front fender bolts, so that I could remove the hideous reflector that is on there - it was the equivalent of having bicycle wheel reflectors. While the moto was "mostly clean" I just plain snapped some quick pictures, since for once, it wasn't raining outside!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Back On It...

Okay... this work-thing is getting ridiculous! It's wrecking havoc with my blogging, and I fully appologize to both of you that read this. I am not even sure where I left off. Hell, I haven't even had a chance to keep up with the usual blogs I visit. I'll try to play some catch up here.

July came... and then it was the Fourth of July.... my favorite holiday! It's got fireworks, and now it's the anniversary! Jessica and I spent the morning together, before a good group of friends came up to BBQ for a bit. The weather was great for most of the day, we threw some quoits, had some awesome food, and more than enough to drink. Once the light started to fade, we were off to Nederland to catch the fireworks, which were shorter this year, but still pretty cool!





The next week was my birthday of course, and I was spoiled... as I should be. Wednesday night Alex treated me to pre-birthday dinner at the Wondervu Cafe; along with Jessica, Jesse (same birthday as me!), Brittainy and Jesse's sister. It was delicious as always... if you go, be sure to try the blueberry margarita!

Thursday was birthday day, and it was completely stupid of me to go to work. But I had some delicious Vietnamese lunch, and then after work Jessica and I were off to Izakaya Den for dinner! As it was a special occasion, I even got my own Crispy Tuna! I freakin' love that place. And the seared scallops there... were insanely good as well!

Saturday it was party time again at the house, and we had another, smaller gathering at the house. More games, more drinks, but this time with cake;

...and kabobs!

Thanks ladies for doing all the cooking!!!

Jake... who later ate half of an entire carrot cake (you bastard! - good thing I had two pieces at dinner!) thinks that even the porch swing is a couch that he should sit on with his dad.

The following day was the Longmont crit, and there wasn't much to report there. My legs were crap all week, but felt a little bit better for the race. It wasn't helped that we had a HUGE field of like 110 people, made all the more exciting by a crazy number of racers that get paid to ride their bikes all year. Fast race, felt okay floating at the back, started to feel horrible and knew I wouldn't move up, so I sat up with about 10 minutes left. Kinda stupid, should have just sat in still and finished, but really, it didn't feel good.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dead Dogs That Bite

It was time for another Dead Dog Stage Race, so on Friday afternoon, just in time for the afternoon downpour, Zac and I packed up the car, and headed North. Rubin was already up in Laramie, warning the locals that we were on our way. The Dead Dog is one of those races that I have such a love/hate relationship with. Overall, it's a well-run race, on some pretty sweet courses... all ones that I don't excel at. The road race is absolutely beautiful, every year, I'm too busy racing, to really take a look around and enjoy the area, which is sad. Especially since whenever we get back and see pictures, then you see what you're missing.

Anyway... off to Laramie, pick up some race numbers, grocery store, and then head off to our sweet cabin for the night in Albany. The cabin was sweet... 200 meters form the start of the road race, and super quiet up in the mountains, with just 15 full-time inhabitants of Albany;

First things first... bug spray to keep from getting carried away by the mosquitos. Next up... a lovely little spin on the bikes to loosen up the legs and all that, and you know, to remind ourselves just how miserable the final miles of this race can be, as if it isn't etched into your mind after just one trip.

Sara, Seth and myself rolling the painful, but scenic course. This is even the boring part of the course!

After riding, we had a nice dinner to load up for the next day, and then a relaxing night in our cabin;

Saturday morning the skies were clearer than expected, but it was also already getting windy. You know those days where you ignore the signs that you should just stay home? That's the way Saturday was starting out... 5 minutes before the start of the race, I put my hand on my bars, and was subsequently stung right in the center of the palm by a bee! That was sure to feel lovely during the next 4 hours of holding onto my handlebars. Anyway, the gun went off, the race started, and the legs were feeling just fine. Seth followed some wheels off the front, and I hung out to keep an eye on things. A few minutes later, I realized I had made a drastic mistake, and had not tightened my cassette lockring sufficiently. Doh! Of course, it was perfectly fine riding around all morning... until we were racing that is. Just as the pace was heating up a bit, it all came apart and my chain jammed. Luckily the wheel car was able to help me out, but it took a bit of time, and then it was 5 miles of solo TT effort straight into that evil headwind. But at least I got back on.

Eventually the course went uphill, and I came off the main group, but found some friends. It was fricken windy... and cold... not fun. But I was just looking for that turnaround which should give us a tailwind then. It did... sorta... but the temperature swings and turning to go back up hill had it's usual effect on me, in the usual place and I had a big ol' come-apart. Bummer, since the main group was within reach. Man does it suck being 40 miles from home, and wanting nothing more than to get off your bike and quit. I knew another group was coming up behind though, so I jumped on with them, and rode the rest of the way home with similarly dejected friends. Oh well, I get to race again on Sunday.

Nice distraction on the way back to Laramie; check out the size of these friggin' wind turbine blades! I don't know why, these things just always amaze me, but especially the massive ones!

Here's a good size reference for you... the front of the regular, full-size semi, was lined up with the end of the truck with the turbine blades;

We even had some time off for some ice cream, and no trip to Laramie would be complete without a photo of a meth billboard. Zac was kind enough to pose, but I'm starting to worry about his uncanny likeness to the billboard;

Sunday it was time for the double. The downtown crit was silly fast, as expected, from the gun. Being just 50 minutes, it was sure to be. We rode around and around, and I was pretty active in the first half of the race, but we missed the break. Ciclismo put their entire team on the front to chase, so things looked good, and everyone relaxed a bit... instead, the gap went up, so I guess they did a good job of blocking instead. Oh well.

Pack up the car and straight off to the TT. It's a relatively flat TT, downhill tailwind out, uphill evil headwind coming back. And usually pretty hard to be motivated given the big time differences from Saturday left little if anything to be gained. Even worse that the legs were absolutely screaming to stop at the start... but they got better, and I rode a consistent, if not strong effort, to finish the weekend. Blah. But still mostly fun overall. And now for a bit of time off.