Monday, September 21, 2009


Winter is wasting no time, as we have snow here on the last official day of Summer.

Another great write-up from the Velocross race, from the awesome gang at MountainFlyer.

Saturday I didn't race, and Jessica and I took advantage of the still-nice weather to get out on the moto. We met up with Craig and Bonnie in Golden at Grappa Bistro in Golden. It was very "meh". But it was a relatively nice day to be out on the patio eating. And Jessica and I took the extra long ride home, heading up through Ward and then along Peak-to-Peak. The weather tried to get us, but mostly held off. We did happen along a full-on traffic jam on Peak-to-Peak though, with "leaf-gawkers" pulled over to take pictures of the aspens. Ugh... it seems way too early for this nonsense.

Sunday Jessica and I were off to Brecktobercross to do some racing, and we took Jesse and Brittainy along with us, so we could all hit up Brecktoberfest after the racing. I really wanted to do the Singlespeed race, but it was at the end of the day, and Brecktoberfest would have been shutting down by the time we got there. As we headed out of Ned, the skies were looking menacing;

Going past the turn-off for WinterPark, the clouds looked way worse! And there was a steady, cold rain falling on far side of the tunnel. Luckily it was dry in Breck, but not for long.

My timing was a bit off, so I was admittedly rushed before the race, but I really didn't feel great during warm up. My stomach was unsettled, and the legs were lacking power. Unfortunatley, that carried over straight into the race. I could make efforts, but nothing had that good feeling, and I really started peetering out at the top-end. Too make things worse, it was a really tough course to pass on, so there were a few times I'd move up, but then slow as I got to traffic, or would catch guys going the other way. I tried to remind myself that the altitude and colder weather was going to make things tougher. But no way around it, I felt slow, and it was a constant struggle to keep the mind focused on the job at hand. Even more so as it started to rain off and on throughout the race, before finally starting to pour in the final two laps. Another solid reminder that racing 3 times in one weekend, usually means I will be crap the following weekend.

I usually dig the Breck course, and this year they promised to change it up a bit. But I think this was my least favorite incarnation of the course. It just didn't seem to flow all that well, and again, it was tough to really find a line where you could pass. Of course, much of the "flow" problem could have just been me riding under 140bpm the entire race. I managed to hold on for 17th though, which isn't horrendous considering how I feel, so now I just need to finish resting and get back on top of that gear.

Obviously, the pouring rain did not help out Brecktoberfest though. It was definitely cold, and still raining off and on (mostly "on"!). Sweet though, on the way to the festival a passerby that was bailing passed along 5 beer tickets they had purchased, free of charge! Thanks unknown dude! And plus, the rain meant that we didn't have to stand in a single line all day!

Between us we had plenty of delicious Paulaner beer, some brauts, home made pierogis (my fave!), schnitzel, giant pretzels, strudels and some other stuff. Even standing in the planter of some storefront under their roof, it was all still delicious!

Once we ate our food though, and we were all soaked through and frozen, we decided to call it a day and head home. Not surprisingly, it was already snowing (first official siting this year) on the way back up to the tunnel.

Overall, a pretty good, but terribly short weekend. Tomorrow night I am off to Vegas for Interbike! I'm looking forward to asking cynical questions to brand managers about their questionable and often ludicrious marketing claims. And of course to soak in the Vegas atmosphere.

Two weeks ago we went to the Kooza Cirque de Soleil where Jessica got a new mask. It was a cute little small one... and it was only a matter of time before I realized that it was perfectly sized for Clarence...

Friday, September 18, 2009

For Whom The Cowbell Tolls...

Cyclcross season came in last week with a fury! I hadn't really planned on hitting the Pikes Peak race down in Colorado Springs, but Craig offered to drive, and there is a Dunkin' Donuts down there... so... game on! It seemed like perfect weather to start out the season, about 44 degrees, cloudy and light showers when I left the house. It got a bit warmer and a bit drier once we got south of Golden though.

The course looked interesting, since it was running backwards in some sections, from how I had done the course before. But it was pretty fun, and it was great to be one some fast, loose trails again! There was a brutal 30m run too, just to really make sure you were breaking into the cross season properly. A brief shower during our warm up laps made the course a touch tacky, which was perfect. But as we were waiting in the start area, it started raining pretty good, and wasn't going to let up anytime soon. There goes that tire selection out the window. I was racing single speed, and started the first lap out fairly mellow, before ramping it up and working my way through the Cat 3 field. The legs felt good, but it was frustrating because the mud made clipping in, difficult at best, and kept everyone from really putting down the power.

Good first race though, taking the win!

After the drive down to the Springs and back, Saturday was going to be that much longer of a day. It was time for Velocross, the Subaru-Vista Race that the team was putting on, so it was going to take some work! Up at 5am, and down to the Velodrome by 6. Setting up the course, pre-coffee even, and then by 8, I was back in the car to shoot up to Ned. Jessica was racing the Neder-Nederland 5k. It was a good morning for race!

Jessica and Alex were cranking along, with pretty good looking splits!

And turned out Jessica had a great race, finishing with her personal best 5k time. All the more impressive that she did it at 8300 vertical feet! Alex was showing off her new haircut during the race, which confused the announcer as they were coming through, as he announced "Alex coming through the finish... HE is from Nederland".

Alex had really "man'ed-up" for the race.

As the ladies went off to their well deserved breakfast, it was back to the velodrome for me, to help with the race, and get ready to do my own racing. I was anxious to see how the course was working out, and what people thought of it. It was a fully new course, in a very "urban" area, and we the defining feature had to be the way the course was routed into the building for the velodrome, before shooting down a ramp back to the grass section!

First up was the Open race, with a pretty solid field of guys showing up. The legs felt pretty good during warm-up, given the previous days race, and already busy Sunday. I didn't push the start, but probably should have a bit more, since as things started to sort out, I was in a pretty good position. All the more so as I settled into the groove and some others started to slow a bit, and I caught a few guys. I liked the course, it flowed pretty well (which was a worry of mine) and had everything from twisty off-camber sections, to wide-open fast stuff, and some tricky corners and dismounts. I was drilled the whole race though, and it hurt. All the more so since I was already starting to get used to the shorter 45 minute SS races - that extra 15 minutes feels like another 30 minutes instead! I was pretty happy with the race though, especially the first real Open race, and finished up in 8th place.

Oh... and the Hakkalugi... it was a freakin' dream! That bike is so fast, and so smooth! I didn't notice the bike at all, which should mean it was working perfectly. I can't think of a single thing I would have changed on it!

After that, I was pretty blown, and didn't think I could motivate for the Single Speed race, a couple hours later. I tried to stay busy, tried to NOT drink the free beer or eat from the grill that smelled so good, and before I knew it, I was lining up for the race. I tried to start mellow but there were definitely some faster guys at this race, than there had been at Saturdays. After about a lap there was a selection of 4 of us, and as we got into traffic from the back of the 3's, D-Strong and I got a bit of a gap from the others. I'd have to counter his passing moves, to try to keep him in touch, before I was finally able to pass him on one section, and then a lap later, make a pass of a big group of 3's to distance myself.

The single speed was hard, especially on the road section. I found that I had to go really really hard, to pass anyone in front of me, because the next section had some tight twisty stuff, where people in front of you could really slow you down. So the race had a lot of hard efforts followed by trying to not puke on yourself while you recovered. D-Strong made a hard push at the end, as the weekend was really starting to take it's toll on my body, so I just tried to stay smooth and eventually, finally, beat him to the line for a second win on the weekend.

Now it's Friday, and almost time to do it all (well, most of the racing anyway) over again. Hopefully the legs will recover, since I was pretty cooked most of the week. Off to Breckenridge this weekend, which is always a great race, and the race is back on schedule with Brecktoberfest as well! Let the people-watching commence!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Run DMLeonard

...I met this little girlie, her hair was kinda curly
Went to her house and bust her out, I had to leave real early
These girls are really sleazy, all they just say is please me
Or spend some time and rock a rhyme, I said "It's not that easy"

It's Tricky to rock a rhyme, to rock a rhyme that's right on time
It's Tricky...(How is it D?) It's Tricky (Tricky) Tricky (Trrrrrricky)
It's Tricky to rock a rhyme, to rock a rhyme that's right on time
It's Tricky...Tricky (Tricky) Tricky

(Leonard spittin' sick lyrics at the Velocross race this weekend)

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Yep, the college kids are back, and I'm already hoping for their springtime departure.

I saw the most amazing thing the other day, just as the students were coming back to school... I pulled into Home Despot (Home Depot) after work, to swing in and grab a few items. Just as I did, a brand new SUV pulled in next to me, with two college dudes in it. They hoped out of their car, and then I noticed, both reached into the back seat, pulling out their new skateboards. Uh oh... what's going on here? I had to follow. The two dudes proceeded to wander around the store, carrying their skateboards for all to see. I had nothing going, so I followed them, hoping they were looking for a single nut for their trucks or something like that - even though there are 15 or so trendster skateboard shops all over Boulder that could help them out AND (most importantly) they'd have been seen at the shop, if they went there. Hell, it's not even like they were tempted by the huge concrete floor in such a place, and brought their boards inside for a few rebellious rolls through the ailes. And not that I would have ever, back in the day, broken into the burnt down and currently under construction remains of a hardware store near me, just because of the tens of thousands of square feet of glass-smooth concrete.

Anyway... no such freakin' luck. They literally wandered around, carrying their boards for all to see, before settling on some lovely potted trees that were going to look lovely in their new feng shui oriented new college housing. Fucking poseurs.

The latest horrifying trend that has caught my attention on campus is the return of the high-waisted pants and skirts. Look, I know, you have this new-found trendy affinity for everything from the 80's, decade before the one in which you were born. I totally get that you've already bought your shutter shades...

You probably bought your big fat day glow sneakers because your older brother told you he heard they were "brill"

Heck, if you're really into being a hipster, you might have purchased yourself a Casio keyboard, grabbed your most hipster friend, and started a band that is based mostly around mis-guided fashion and shitty synthesised pre-recorded rhythms;

But I'm sorry... no one, anywhere, in any decade, or any trend of fashion, will look "glam" in this fucking drapery;

If you're bored, and really want to be on the cutting edge, keep searching ebay for one of those VHS thingies, and I'll let you borrow my copy of Animal Chin, and you can learn how real men skateboard... and wear fluorescent colors.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Parents and Koppenberg

This past weekend the parents came in for a little visit. It's always great to have them come visit us at the house! Saturday, we explored some of the motorcycle shops around Denver as my dad had a few new bikes he wanted to check out in person. I did pretty good, making it most of the day before finally cracking with my lust for a Triumph Daytona 675.

So far I've avoided going to check them out, but we were at the Triumph dealer, and it was too easy to finally throw a leg over one. "Unfortunately" it felt (at least on the showroom floor) even nicer than I had imagined. Ugh... we'll have to add that one to "the list".

After a long day of looking at bikes, and driving around, everyone had worked up an appetite... maybe too much of an appetite. We just happened to be watching the Travel Channel on Friday night, and saw the episode touting the 7lb. breakfast burrito at Jack-N-Grill. And so we just had to check it out, since we were in the neighborhood. Not one to dissapoint the new daughter-inlaw, dad was happy to order the monster. Do I see a moment of doubt creeping into his head?

That thing was an absolute monster! I thought the food was good, not great, but definitely worth a return trip. The green chili was quite good, and the potatoes were tasty as well! Plus, $12 buys you a 7lb. breakfast burrito, which would be like 4 meals!

Father made a pretty good dent in that monster... a much bigger dent than the wimp behind us put into his. And sure enough, it provided meals at 3 other instances through the weekend!

Sunday was set to be my last road race of the year, if the weather would finally stay away, and let us race the Koppenberg. The weather was trying, it was cloudy and dark, and almost cold before the start. With the parents in town, I was going in with almost no bike-time, so I had no idea what to expect. But right from the start, I felt a whole lot better than I normally do at this race. You would have thought the hill would have been a bit better, since we didn't have much wind, but sure enough, we hit the hill and people started falling like dominos. It thought I'd be okay, but someone (SEVERAL riders) in the way caused me to dismount and run. After of course, being stuck behind others. Sure, the hill was nasty, but it wasn't THAT bad...

There goes the group. Shit. So I hammered along collecting people, and only a few people were able to work. Our group got smaller as we got closer to the main group, but never really made it. As usual with this race, I rode with people, picked some up, dropped others, and had the typical trip through the finish line for a lap, when you turn around, and everyone with me had called it a day. Great... 2.5 laps of riding solo, before getting caught by a small group going up the hill the final time.

With the new group, and still half-decent legs, I figured I might as well sprint it out... it would be something to practice and keep the mind occupied. I ended up in a mostly good spot, but started my sprint about 100 meters too early. I realized that right at about the same time I realized the legs were going to seize up as well. Two guys came past, and I looked back, happy to see we had enough room that no one else was coming, and came safely across the finish.

Another frustrating race, as my legs felt great, but I had crappy luck for the entire race. Ugh. I'm always amazed at this race, at how poorly some guys can handle loose conditions or steep, loose, climbs on their road bikes. Man, go get a cross bike and try it out! Believe me, nothing makes you feel more like "one with your bike" as sliding both wheels in a drift through a corner.

Anyway, it was a fun race for the parents to come see, and Jessica kept them occupied, watching the fun on the hill. I guess the road season is over for me now, and that makes me sad. The legs have been good, I just needed the luck to come around. But at least I guess cyclocross is here, and hopefully I'll keep it rolling and just be able to ride my own races.