Saturday, December 13

TR - 30 Mile Tour De Aurora

I got out early this morning and did a 30 mile ride. I rode Alameda to the Highline Canal Trail just past Havana, went north on the HL to the Tollgate Creek Trail and then south on the Tollgate Creek Trail to Dartmouth, Dartmouth west to Chambers and then up a bit to the Cherry Creek Spillway, and then west ot the Cherry Creek Trail proper which brought me back home.

I've had colder rides, but my feet were frozen when I got home.

The ride was good. I did a similar loop a couple weeks ago just before we all got sick which was more like a 20 mile ride and involved the Westerly Creek Trail instead of the Tollgate Creek Trail.

Here is the map:



It was cold. I expected the sun to come out early into the ride, but the clouds kept it from warming me on my ride, though I could see clear blue skies to the west. When I got to Cherry Creek Dam I got a fantastic view to the west of the snowy foothills and some peeks of the bigger peaks between cold looking winter cloud banks. There is a cold Canadian airmass pushing our way bringing snow and frigid air.

The Mount Evans Massif was completely obscured by one such fluffy cloud bank.

The trails were in pretty good shape considering. Most were dry with only a few patches of ice and/or snow in predictable places.

Cherry Creek seemed to be the worst. I had two close calls. The first was along Chambers. The snow I saw ahead wasn't flat snow that had fallen, it was actually leftover from the snow thrown onto hte sidewalk by a snowplow and it was irregular and frozen solid. Almost threw me into the (thankfully empty) street.

The other close call was an icy curve before a bridge on the CCT proper. Most patches I had encountered had been short and in straight sections of trail. This one in particular covered a 100' section of trail through a curve just before a bridge over the creek. I had slowed anticipating the ice, but as I saw that I was going to have to turn I realized I was going too fast and I had not gotten my feet free of the pedals.

I eeked through the first patch and managed to bleed a little more speed off in a small dry patch in the middle of the bigger sheet of ice and came within in millimeters of going off the trail on the outside of the curve.

It wouldn't have been a bad wreck if I had, but I would have hit the ground for sure since my feet were attached to the pedals.

I learned a few things about icy bike paths:

1) Don't ever try to brake ON THE ICE with skinny tires. Roll over it and take your chances.

2) No turning on the ice. It ain't gonna happend on rubber skis.

3) Don't count on the snow or ice being smooth and be ready to ride out the bumps.

4) If the skinny tire tracks through the snow ahead are deep, they are probably frozen solid. BEWARE!

5) BOTH feet free of the pedals if you see you are approaching snow or ice.

6) As you cross a patch of ice your tires will accumulate ice. After you are through only the centers of the tires will dry out quickly but a nice slick coating will remain on the sides. DON'T BANK INTO A CURVE immediately after crossing snow or ice.

Hope these tips help keep you upright.

Monday, December 1

Triple By-pass

Ok, I am dead set on doing the Triple ByPass ride next summer. The Triple ByPass is a 120 mile bike ride from Evergreen to Avon over Squaw (11,140'), Loveland (11,990'),
Swan Mountain and Vail (10,560') Passes.

So I will need to train for distance and for climbing passes. I'm pretty sure the climbing is going to come later rather than sooner since we finally started getting snow.

After driving up Berthoud Pass the other day I really wanted to ride it. I think I'll definitely have to incorporate it into my preparation for the ride.


from www.teamevergreen.org

Thursday, November 27

Passes

I drove up to Berthoud Pass with my kids this morning while mom worked on Thanksgiving dinner. I must confess that an ulterior motive was to scout it out for the possibility of a ride in the spring to train for the Triple By-Pass.

And then on the way down I saw an old guy, gray beard and all, chugging up to Empire. I wanted to be riding today. Up the pass and maybe down the other side.

Soon...soon. Even if it is in the spring, it'll be soon enough. I'll start by riding Deer Creek, Bear Creek, Lookout and Flagstaff Mountains. Then maybe Evans once the road is open.

Sunday, November 23

New Loop Ride

I got out today for a nice 20 miler. Mandy and I were going to take the kids and ride a loop, but Boone acted like he wasn't feeling too good so we decided I would go ride and then when I got back she would go walk at the park (but she is riding up to the King Soopers near Boone's school for groceries right now).

I decided to go ahead and ride at least part of the loop we were all going to do, so I headed east on the Cherry Creek to Bayaud, hit Alameda and took the Alameda Bikeway just past Havana to the Westerly Creek Trail.

The northern terminus of the trail is Exposition Park at Alameda and right off the bat the trail surface is fantastic.

I rode south on the trail all the way to Iliff, but at that point there was trail construction and it was closed beyond. So I took Iliff west to Lima and then that south to Yale and took Yale back to the Cherry Creek.

I blasted back northwest on the CCT and was back home 21.6 miles and 1:32 hrs later.

It was a good ride, a bit chilly and very little bike traffic (except on the CCT). I didn't have any run ins with the Jersey Guys, they must have been terrorizing Wash Park or some other trail (like the South Platte).

All in all a great ride...

Best of craigslist Proves Fixies are Bad News

Came across this posting (edited for language):

Please buy this fixie wheelset. My battered heart implores you.
Date: 2008-08-21, 10:53AM EDT


Back in the halcyon days of our budding relationship, my now ex-boyfriend and I decided to start fixing up bikes. He was an old-school steel fan, so we started with his Schwinn Varsity---he converted it to a beautiful fixed-gear, and I contributed support, encouragement, and the impetus to apply that second coat of signpainter's one-shot. Thrilled with the result, we picked up more frames, parts, and wheels.

And then tragedy struck.

My [deleted] ex-boyfriend decided to end our relationship when he got a temporary gig in New York, citing (believe it or not) the fact that he just "loved me too much" to fearlessly invest time and energy into a long-distance relationship (even if just for three months). He took the half-stripped Varsity frameset we'd recently started (it was destined to be mine) and left me with a wheelset, some vague promises, and a broken heart.

Those wheels, my friends, are now for sale. They've been languishing too long in the darkest recesses of my one-room efficiency and now it's time for me to get it into my head that my [deleted] ex-boyfriend is never coming back and, more importantly, he is never going to finish building my Varsity fixed-gear conversion.

So help me mend my broken heart. Buy my wheels so that someday, after a long, slow healing process, I can ride off into the sunset with a new boyfriend. On matching Bianchis.

Thursday, November 20

So Much for Hiatus

Oh well...I thought I could take some time off from ranting about this stuff, but I find that the longer I've gone without riding the more I want to ride.

I am truly impressed with how many people here continue riding for transportation despite the cold, shortness of days and increased traffic at times. In Kentucky no one rode, much less rode when the conditions were less than favorable.

I wish I could get back to riding more. It's just this rotating counter shift thingy makes it hard to maintain a routine and be consistent.

I haven't ridden to work in so long I can't remember the last time.

We're talking more about moving to Golden once our lease is up in the spring and if we do I think we may go to one car. If that happens then I'll ride a LOT more. But for now I am a slave to the car. But I have full intentions of liberating myself from it for daily travels in the near future. I can and I will!

Freewheel Choices

So I just wanted to share this absurdity I came across on the way home the other evening. It was mostly dark, I was traveling south on Bannock around 3rd or 2nd and as I approached the four way stop a guy on a fixie blasted through the intersection at full tilt, no reflectors or lights and wearing dark clothes. I didn't see him at all until he passed through the light of my headlights.

My question is this: would it have been my fault if I had hit him as I moved forward from the stop sign? If I had been moving through the intersection before he did he would have hit me without me ever having seen him. And since he was cranking away on a fixie, more than likely he didn't stop because he didn't have a freewheel and couldn't stop.

Natural selection hard at work...

Oh! And did I mention that the guy was NOT wearing a helmet? But you knew that didn't you?

SO MUCH FOR HIATUS!!!

[edited 2:45pm 11/20/08]

Sunday, November 16

"Community" Ditch Trail

I guess I should have worn one of my jerseys and my bike shorts today. Things might have gone better.

The temps were nice today so we decided to get out of the city and do something. I suggested we go ride the Community Ditch Trail in Boulder Open Space. From the road it looked like a nice level ride where we could take the bike trailer.

So I loaded everything up and we made the 45 minute drive over there. I opted to park along 93 as opposed to driving on down to the TH near Eldorado Springs. As soon as we got out of the car we were stunned by both the view and the wind. It was howling.

But soon we were on the trail and the wind was not quite as strong. Unfortunately the trail (ditch access road) was chocked full of big ole rocks. Boone was bouncing off his bike and Lily was crying from the trailer. They were miserable.

We went a little way and I looked back to see Mandy and Lily far behind. We went back and she said Lily was just miserable. So we decided to go back, but Boone wanted to go on. So mom said she and Lily would head back and take their time if we wanted to go on, so we did.

Mistake number one...we left all the repair gear in the trailer.

Mistake number two...I left my cell at home.

Anyway, Boone and I rode all the way to the Doudy Draw trail and then down the paved section to the TH along the road to Eldorado Canyon. From where we started it was about 2.25 miles. We had a pretty good ride to that point and we then turned around and headed back toward the car. Within 100 yards I noticed a weird sound and looked back to see that Boone's rear tire was flat (I was pulling him with the tow bar).

He had three goatheads that he must have picked up somewhere else because he also had some in his front tire which was held up off the ground by the bar and none of the other tires on either of the other bikes or the trailer had any goatheads.

At the time I didn't know how far we had to walk back, but I knew it was going to be a long walk. At that moment I realized my two mistakes (see above) and began kicking myself for them. Boone complained that he didn't want to walk, but after a little bit he didn't say anything else and he was actually quite a trooper. He told me a little while ago after we got home that he had a great day today.

We also tried out riding with him on my handlebars for a bit. That made up a good bit of time, but roughed up his rear end too much to go too far.

What really annoyed me about the whole thing was this: I have always heard how great the cycling community is. I've heard that most cyclists will stop and help you out if you have a flat and that they always look out for each other.

What I discovered instead was that most cyclists will barrel by a five year old pedestrian with no warning and without slowing down and will NOT stop and help someone with a flat. Dozens of Jersey Guys and Gals flew by without so much as an "On your LEFT!" Some did at least yell out before screaming by.

About two thirds of the way back a guy slowed down and offered a tube, but we could see Mandy and Lily and the car by then and then three guys asked if we needed anything as we reached the parking area, but of all the people that cruised by us, they were the only ones that gave any pause.

I suggested to Mandy as we were loading the car up that it might have been different if I had been wearing my jersey and bike shorts and riding something besides my fixed frame 14 year old Cannondale.

Oh well...it would have been a nice hike if not for having to drag the bike with a flat along or if someone had offered the use of their tire tools, a patch and a pump.

I made sure to talk to Boone about how it is good to stop and at least ask if someone needed help. Mandy said while she and Lily sat alongside the trail playing only one person asked if they needed any help.

[Boone-ism follows]

I explained that none of the people that had passed us had been considerate enough to stop and ask if we were ok and how it is nice to offer to help people and how now we know how it feels when no one does offer to help. I stopped my "lesson" as another bike spun past.

Boone said quite loudly: "He didn't stop to help us either."

Monday, November 10

Triple Bypass

No, not an upcoming surgery, but a ride next summer...

I want to get in shape. I want to stop being 200 lbs. at 5'9".

I used to be rather fit, in HS I was actually considered skinny. So I made a goal of 15 lbs lost by Christmas. HA! Probably won't happen, but I am going to give it a noble effort.

I want to feel better and have more energy and gosh darn it! I want a flat stomach!

So my ultimate fitness goal is to ride the Triple By-Pass next summer. And I want to look good in the jersey.

Saturday, November 8

That Balance Thing

So we were on our way to Castlewood Canyon earlier and we were in Castle Rock at an intersection. I saw two Jersey Guys in the left turn lane opposite us and they were doing that balance thing, but they both looked like they really, really had to go to the bathroom.

They were pulling it off, but it was taking way more effort to do the balance thing than if they had just unclipped from their pedals and then reclipped when they took off. I was really afraid that the wingman was going to eat it when he finally lost his balance and then couldn't get his shoe loose.

Finally the lead guy dropped a foot to the pavement, but the other guy kept balancing, graceful as the wreck of the Hesperus.

Finally, mercifully the light changed and they went on.

Friday, November 7

Photo Break

Here is a photo I took on the same day as the Geriatric Jersies attacked us:



We love riding on Marion to the park because it is relatively low in traffic and it has bike lanes along a really nice tree lined avenue.

Thursday, October 30

Geriatric Jersies

Ok, you know who you are, but this post goes out to the three SUPERJERKS who nearly ran me and Boone over at Smith Lake at Wash Park this afternoon.

Mandy and I took Boone and Lily and Ty and Alison (in visiting from back east) to the park. We rode our bikes. Ty and Ali rode over to the park and Mandy pulled our kids in the trailer.

When we went to leave the park Boone wanted to ride his bike, so Ty got in the trailer and I hung back with Boone. Near the Lily Pond Boone wobbled and toppled and while he was on the ground and I was trying to help him up three ancient old cyclists came barreling through, weaving between us, scowling and then Mandy said as they passed her one of them said to the others "Looks like somebody failed trike 101."

They were flying and they barely missed both of us and they were just as rude as they could be. We were at the park and not inhibiting traffic on a bike trail. If a family can't got to the park and ride bikes then where can they go?

I wish we had been closer to Mandy and the other kids cause I'd have chased them down and let them have a few choice words to burn into their plasticized brains.

Thursday, October 23

Hiatus

So now that winter is swift approaching I will probably take a sabbatical from writing about the Jersey Guys. I plan on trying to start running (went once so far!) and probably won't ride as much. But who knows...maybe some glaringly absurd event will provoke me to capture it in blog form.

If you don't hear from me before spring, be assured that more Jersey Guys stories will return as I begin training for the Triple-By-Pass some time in May. My goal is to do at least the TBP and hopefully the Copper Triangle as well.

And I know I'll see many Jersies along the way as I prepare my body for the punishment of those rides.

It's funny because Boone always refers to the colorful cyclists as "Jersey Guys" now.

I love it!

Stay tuned...more to come in a few months!

Tuesday, October 7

Multitasking

Last night I saw a guy barreling through a crowded section of the path at Wash Park, one hand on his handlebars and the other either dialing his phone or texting, his eyes fixed on the display.

It was a lovely display of complete disregard for the safety of others. He wasn't just responding to a call, he was initiating contact with someone.

I so wish I had the camera with me at the time, though he was weaving so fast through the crowd that I wouldn't have been able to get the shot.

Tuesday, September 23

Wallowing in the Mire

So, the Jersey Guys were harassing the Disco Dude tonight at Wash Park.

Meet Disco Dude: he roller skates (not blades) around the park carrying a boom box with poor sound quality, grooving to his tunes. He seems harmless. It’s interesting to watch his white guy non-rhythm. He is white, thick glasses, seems like a child of the eighties at least, maybe even the seventies. His music itself really doesn’t seem so disco, but his image is pure indie.



Enter the Jersey Guys. They surrounded Disco Dude in a pack and began mocking him. DD was yelling, “You don’t have to make fun of me!” as they swayed their arms and sang along. I think he shot a few expletives in their direction and as an outsider I could only wish for a stray mongrel to cross in front of the lead JG.

And the joggers (plus one pedestrian) along the streets as we drove over to the park were flinging themselves in front of our car. Mandy and I agreed it would be a miracle if we could get to the park and back home without getting in an accident.

Friday, September 19

Movie Review: American Flyers

I just finished watching American Flyers and was pleasantly surprised to find that it takes place in Boulder, Golden and along Mount Evans Road.

I thought that was pretty cool. I have ridden a bit of the road filmed in that movie.

The plot isn't great, but it's not bad, and the cycling footage actually is pretty darn good.

I would recommend it for sure, there is language and some slight nudity, more than I'd want my kids seeing for sure, but edited it would be fine and the racing scenes are worth some skipping around.

I think it's kinda cool that both this movie and Breaking Away were written by the same guy (Steve Tesich).

Sunday, September 14

MTB Guys

We went hiking at Mount Falcon Open Space today. We encountered some of the Jersey Guys on their full suspension bikes.

First encounter: we had just descended a whole 20' from the parking area and paused at a pile of rocks that Boone wanted to explore. Mandy was standing just out of the trail watching us and we heard a voice yell, "ON YOUR LEFT!" and we looked up the hill to see a mountain biker screaming down on us ON HER RIGHT. As he passed Mandy he yelled, "ON YOUR RIGHT!" but he was already past.

The trail is a busy one, with lots of couples and families and the mountain bikers were just all over the place. Some were considerate, but a few were just reckless.

On a more positive note, I watched Breaking Away tonight. I got it from the library along with Quicksilver and American Flyers. Can't wait to watch the other two, but Breaking Away was actually kinda cool for a 70s-ish movie.

After having hiked at Mount Falcon I could see going up there for a before work ride. The trails are pretty cool and you could get a decent amount of distance without having to do a heinous climb. Not that I'm opposed to heinous climbs, but sometimes its nice to just ride.

Thursday, September 11

Wednesday, September 10

Song Lyric I Like

"Joey never met a bike that he didn’t wanna ride"

- Kimya Dawson, Tire Swing (from the Juno soundtrack)

Wednesday, September 3

Fixies



So I have figured out what it takes to be a "fixie" or fixed gear rider. Basically you have had to see the movie Quicksilver more than once.

After having decided you want to drop out of mainstream society and become a bike messenger you need to get a pair of faded jeans (roll up one or both legs) and a messenger bag and start riding in traffic and doing that balance thing at intersections while you wait (when you do). Try to ignore as many traffic laws as possible and for heaven's sake don't wear a helmet!

Being skinny helps, and make sure you scoff at all other cyclists.

On a related, but different note, the movie The Man With One Red Shoe has some great cycling scenes. Including a great scene where Tom Hanks is doing the balance thing at an intersection and one of the spies who is trailing him says, "How does he do that? I wish I could do that."

Check out this blog post.

Apparently I am not alone in my views.

Though this is a hysterical argument FOR fixies. Apparently people take this seriously...

Tuesday, September 2

Jersey Guys Revamped

Jersey Guys was supposed to be a fictitious blog written from the point of view of a cycling team training in Wash Park. We've grown overly frustrated with the "jersey guys" as Boone calls them and wanted to vent our frustrations via this blog. Now I think it might just be easier to relate the stories from our point of view and embellish a little internal dialogue for said Jersey Guys.

When I go to the park in the mornings for my rides I rarely encounter them, and why would I? That is a relatively slow time for the path around the park. But when we go in the evenings to walk and take the kids to the playground we end up fighting with the jersied cyclists, the rollerbladers, jogging clubs and pokers. It can get painful.

The path has clearly marked lanes, the inside for a clockwise ped path and the outside for a counterclockwise bike/rollerblade path. Ironically it seems that very few people abide by the simple rules and travel in the wrong direction in the wrong lane very frequently.

And also there is a posted speed limit of 15 mph. Now, to be completely honest, on my morning rides I very often ride 18-25 mph and maintain that speed for four or five laps around the park, but again, the park is usually desolate when I ride and I am very careful around other users.

When the park is crowded it makes no sense to fly around the park, four across, but the jersey guys do it all the time.