Thursday, June 25

Land World Speed Record

I broke 50 mph on my bike coming down Mount Vernon Canyon this morning.

I looked down while coasting and saw I was doing about 47 mph. So I started pedaling for all I was worth. I glanced down a couple times at my speedo and I know I hit 50 and I think I may have even hit 51 or 52.

That was fun.

Wednesday, June 24

Bike to Work Day 2009

...is today!

I rode. I did a detour and got in 21-22 miles before work and the nice guys from Yeti Cycles tuned up my bike (just in time for the Triple Bypass). Got a shirt, some buttons and stickers and a couple bagels.

Funny thing is that Wednesday is not my normal commute day. Lately I've been trying to ride Tues-Fri, but I average riding Tuesdays and Thursdays. And since I've been doing longer rides before work I've been taking rest days through the week...

Yesterday I just did my normal commute though. And today I did the 21-ish miles.

I am going to try a longer ride tomorrow and maybe a moderate ride on Friday, depending on the visiting family schedule.

Mandy's mom and dad and Ty and Ali are on their way to visit us and will be in Colorado until late next week.

Monday, June 22

Westword

This is a funny bit from Westword, a local rag.

I'm definitely #1, with a little #3 thrown in (love the Wash Park reference!)

I also get a kick out of the Fixie Pixie...

And...I learned something new today. "That balance thing" is actually called a trackstand.

Saturday, June 20

Motives

So I have ulterior motives with riding the Triple Bypass. I knew that in preparing for it that I would necessarily have to do some amazing rides. I knew long before I headed west from Bergen Park early in the morning of July 11th that I'd have gotten some feathers for my cycling cap.

And I have...Deer Creek - Bear Creek Loop, Genesee Mountain from Denver, Guanella Pass, Squaw Mountain...and now Berthoud Pass from Idaho Springs.

6:24am I left the public parking lot behind Beau Jo's in downtown Idaho Springs. I wanted to ride all the way to the summit of Colorado Mines Peak, a 12er east of Berthoud. But I wasn't sure if I'd even make the pass. I didn't get a lot of sleep last night and my original plan had been to do the Mount Evans century, but due to possible inclement weather and a lack of confidence on my part left me looking for another ride for today.

And there was only one...Berthoud Pass with Colorado Mines Peak beyond.

I pedaled out of Idaho Springs and cruised along Clear Creek west. Whitewater serenade put a goofy grin on my face and kept my legs pumping.

7:24am I passed through the sleepy burg of Dumont. 8:00 put me in Empire. I felt like I was making phenomenal time compared to my Squaw Mountain ride this past week. I felt good and strong.

At 9:00 I was just east of Berthoud Falls and stopped for a short break at a FS picnic area. The pass was not much farther in miles, but I was gonna start having to pull down the elevation.

Beyond Berthoud Falls was the real meat of the climb. But after making the first switchback curve I found myself three gears up from the lowest pedaling free and clear. What was up with that?

A couple of times I had to gear down, but for the most part I kept a few gears up and maintained a steady clip. I could see Mines ahead of me and it looked so close. I could see the dirt road that switchbacked up the west slopes. I wanted it bad...but my water (all 100 oz.) was mostly gone and the ghost of an altitude headache was coming on.

And then, almost before I knew it I could see the pass ahead.

At 9:50am I rolled to a stop at the pass.

I looked around for water...nothing. Then I decided I'd make a go at Mines anyway. But a few hundred yards up the road I decided the snow and soft alpine soil were not conducive to upward progress.

And then I let gravity have me. It was a nice coast back to Idaho Springs with only a few slow sections where it was flat or slightly uphill. My legs were finally tired, but I managed a strong finish and after loading up the bike headed home.

23 miles up in 3.5 hours, 3,678' of climbing...5 hours total.

Confidence: high

Mount Evans will be next...

Thursday, June 18

Date With a Squaw

0.0 miles
7,791' starting elevation
5:30am

There were few cars at the RTD lot in Bergen Park as I started out this morning. I headed south a short bit to the eastern terminus of Squaw Pass Road. Upward...

7 miles
9,185'
6:30am

Top of Witter Gulch, I stopped for a snack and some water.

12.6 miles
10,640'
7:30am

I left the pavement for the dirt road up to the summit of Squaw Mountain. I started huffing and puffing, but didn't manage to blow anything down. I walked for about a quarter of a mile when the road got really steep and really rocky.

14.4 miles
11,486'
8:30am

Summit of Squaw Mountain.

28.8 miles
9:30am

Return to Bergen park.

Wednesday, June 17

Tuesday, June 16

Building Confidence

I had a small setback with my attempt on Squaw Mountain the other day. So I have decided to re-adjust my approach slightly.

This morning I went and rode Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder. The ride was less than 10 miles, but all climbing. I felt phenomenal on the way up...never feeling as if the climb was taxing at all and I don't think I broke a sweat.

Thursday my plan is to attempt Squaw again, this time from Bergen Park, and not Lakewood (what was I thinking?) and then this coming Saturday I think I'm going to go for the Mount Evans century.

Morrison to the summit of Mount Evans and back.

I need confidence more than I need muscles right now.

Saturday, June 13

Most Ambitious Ride Yet

5:15am - I pedal west on Jewell.

I take a left on Yale and drop down to Bear Creek and then Morrison Rd, turning right and pointing my wheels toward Morrison and Bear Creek Canyon beyond. My ultimate goal was the summit of Squaw Mountain a little over 20 miles and 4,000' in elevation gain away.

As I wandered up Bear Creek Canyon my only company was the sun-tinged ridgetops high above, wreathed in misty clouds, and Bear Creek voicing its timeless angry concerns as it tumbled down the canyon to the plains where its ire would be extinguished.

I passed through Idledale an hour after starting out. That concerned me a bit.

I kept on going, up and west...

I passed through Kittredge, Evergreen and then up into Upper Bear Creek. Wow...can you say pretentious poshness? When everyone names their property you know you've traversed into the realm of luxury.

But it is a very beautiful stretch of road. I only had to stop and pee in one person's yard...

So I made better time up Upper Bear Creek from Evergreen until I got to Witter Gulch Road. I made the turn north onto Witter Gulch and the real climbing began. I crawled slowly, higher, higher, slower, slower...until my back had tightened up to the point where I just had to get off the bike. So I walked along pushing the bike for a bit because I didn't want to stop.

The road had turned to dirt and I walked along hoping I wasn't jamming pebbles into the clips on my bike shoes.

Back in the saddle and cranking away, I took the outside of every switchback (there were a number of them) and had a scare/startlement when dog lunged toward me from its territory (read: driveway) only to be stopped by its lead.

I climbed all the way up to Squaw Pass Road. I groaned up the last few hundred yards, breath coming in ragged gasps, legs screaming for relief...and I was back on the pavement.

I looked at the time...after 8:00...I had told Mandy I would be home by 10. I looked up Squaw Pass Road. I wasn't sure exactly how far it was, was pretty sure it was going to be at least five more miles and all climbing. And I knew even if I could get there in an hour there was no way I could make the entire 30+ mile descent in an hour.

So I decided I'd head partway up Squaw Pass Road and I turned west again. I went for a couple miles and stopped (ironically) less than a mile from Squaw Pass proper near the 9,600' contour.

I had been feeling ok, strong most of the way, especially down low. I'd been munching on rainbow Twizzlers the whole way and stopped to eat a Milky Way. But once I pointed my front wheel down my legs slowly started feeling transparent.

I blazed down Squaw Pass Road on my Cannonball but as soon as I reached the bottom and started pedaling north along Evergreen Parkway (toward the upper terminus of Kerr Gulch Rd) I could feel the miles I was dragging behind me.

I labored up to Kerr Gulch and was surprised as I looked down the amazingly steep road below.

Let the fun begin!

Kerr Gulch is a screamer most of the way. And it was a pleasant surprise that it didn't turn to pure dirt as I had thought, but at worst just a rough recycled asphalt surface.

Once back on Bear Creek Canyon Rd my speed slowed considerably. Normally I'd be able to blast down BCC, but today my legs were so tired I could hardly maintain a solid 20 mph.

Toward the bottom it steepens and I did cruise into Morrison at a respectable clip, but once I started climbing back up toward our apartment I felt the miles once again. I rolled slowly into our apartment complex and returned home at 10:08...pretty good considering all the factors that could have delayed me...and did delay me.

So Squaw was a confidence thing for me. I'm not so sure I am ready for the TBP and I don't know if I can ride enough between now and July 11 to be ready.

But this was my most ambitious ride ever. If I had made it to the summit of Squaw Mountain I would have traveled about 32 miles and would have gained 6,000' in elevation.

My Mount Evans ride last 4th of July was 14 miles and 4,000'.

Thursday, June 11

Moods

This morning I sat in the kitchen chair glaring at my bike where it was propped against the back of the couch. I hated it. I wanted to throw it out the door and off the deck.

I woke at 4:45. My intention was to get out the door by 5:00 and ride to the summit of Bergen Peak. Once I was awake it hit me...the trail up there would be a mess from the recent rains.

Ugh!

So then I tried to figure out a new pre-work TBP training ride...my mind kept drawing a blank as the minutes ticked away.

Both my bikes need a good cleaning from weather the last few days. Both are gritty with road crud and needing some maintenance, but I have slacked as usual on the preventive maintenance issues. (Need to check the fluids in the cars too!)

I kept hitting a wall while trying to decide what I was going to do. And I dreaded dealing with ignorant drivers and their behavior. I didn't want to ride on the road at all, but our new place is surrounded by roads...

Recently I read (and referenced in an earlier blog) John Forester's "Effective Cycling" techniques. I believe in what he supports, but putting it into practice in the real world if difficult. Taking the lane, sticking your neck out, behaving as a vehicle...very difficult when motorists have the advantage of being protected behind steel and glass while you have little or no protection.

I've been trying, trying to be consistent, ride where the law allows me to ride and maintain my position. And this morning I just didn't want to do it. I am frustrated with the lack of consideration which actually translates to reckless behavior on the part of motorists and I am tired of feeling like the freak on the road, though I have every right to be there and I'm not alone! There are scads of cyclists on the road in Colorado.

After deliberating for over an hour I finally decided I would ride. I'd turn it into a hill workout. Jewell to Alameda, over Dinosaur Ridge, down to Morrison and then up through Red Rocks (where I found a killer steep hill) and then on over to Golden.

Once outside and moving my mood improved, but only slightly.

I was almost to the amphitheater at Red Rocks before I was finally in a good mood and that I love living in the Lakewood/Morrison area. I love being able to ride to work and I love who I am and what I do.

I had pedaled a long way from that kitchen chair where I sat hating my bike and the Triple Bypass and everything less than convenient in life.

This kinda makes me chuckle.

Wednesday, June 10

Challenge

So a few weeks ago I fielded a phone call from an irate landowner concerning a controversial biking event in the county. When I say he was irate that's not truly a strong enough statement, but I'll leave it at that.

So he made a couple of points that I don't particularly agree with and I wanted to address them. At the time I had to just bite my tongue and refrain from responding to his very scathing analysis of cyclists in general.

Point 1: "I'm a taxpayer (ugh!, hate when they start with that!) and when they start taxing their (cyclists) gear then they can start using the roads. Until then they need to ride on the paths."

My response: Most cyclists (especially those that ride on this guy's road) also own property and drive cars, therefore, they pay the same taxes Angry Taxpayer does. Also, bicycles are legal vehicles on the road in Colorado (and many other states) so regardless of whether cyclists pay taxes or not they have the same rights and responsibilities on the roads as other travelers.

Point 2: "They're (cyclists) all over the road and don't abide by the traffic laws." [paraphrased]

My response: You could say the same thing about motorists. On cell phones. Trying to hit cyclists because they're angry at being delayed a whole 30 seconds. It's not that cyclists ignore the law. People fail to abide by the law on both sides of the bumper.

Monday, June 8

Close Call

So on my last ride on Friday I had a heart stopping close call.

I was barreling east on the Clear Creek Trail, just east of the terminus of the Ralston Creek Trail and heading under the Sheridan bridge. I had passed under a few other bridges where the trail had been wet. So when I started down under the Sheridan bridge I saw water and for a split second didn't pay it any mind.

Then I realized that the water I saw was more than wet trail. It was the creek, flowing completely over the trail.

I yanked hard on both brakes in near terror...and went into a sideways skid toward the creek.

In a fraction of a second I reacted by letting off the brakes and slamming down on the pedals. I needed speed.

My skinny tires cut straight into the 8" deep water. I saw debris under the water on the trail and I had no idea where the edge of the pavement was. I kept pedaling.

I made it out unscathed...thankfully. My bike shoes were soaked through with snow runoff.

I continued on down the trail, my heart eventually resuming its normal pace.

The real downer was that I had to retrace my path through the same spot. At least the second time I knew it was coming.

Friday, June 5

Half Century and Half a Thousand

May 5 - June 5: 500.09 miles

This morning: 50.78 miles before work

July 11: 120 miles over three mountain passes

Still: Gulp!

Thursday, June 4

Green Mud...er, Mountain

Thought I'd be cool and contour around Green Mountain on one of the trail instead of riding the road this morning. That was a muddy mess.

Got a glob of mud in my eye, crud all over my bike and it wasn't much fun at all.

I can't wait til the sun comes back out over the Front Range. It'll dry that heap of mud out so fast it'll crackle.

I've slacked on my mileage goal for the week. Of course the rain (and lack of planning on my part) made it difficult for me to get 25 miles a day.

So as of this morning I need to get in 70 miles between today and tomorrow to clock in 500 miles in a month's time (since Cinco de Mayo).

Regardless, I've ridden a record number of miles in a month (for me).

My parents and grandparents are going to be here this weekend so I probably won't get to ride at all. I'm going to have to knock out the miles next week for sure.

9:45pm

I miscalculated earlier...I need 50 miles tomorrow to reach 500 miles in a month...I think I can do it.

Wednesday, June 3

New Point of Origin

So I am liking our new place for most reasons, but one is that I now have a much better pool of great rides to choose from. We're much closer to the foothills now and particularly close to Morrison so I have easy access to Bear Creek Canyon, Red Rocks/Dinosaur Ridge, Mount Falcon and Green Mountain.

And then if I am just gunning through my commute it's just a little over 7 miles and I can crank it out in half an hour (even in the cold rain!)

Today I did a short ride through Red Rocks and then to work, nothing much, but it was nice to have the option.

So here is my short list for TBP training in the upcoming weeks:

Training while commuting:

Mount Falcon from Indian Hills
Flagstaff Summit (maybe from Golden)
Genesee Mountain (because it's awesome!)
Grapevine Rd to Lookout Mtn
Golden Gate Canyon - Coal Creek Canyon Loop

Weekend Rides (all round trips):

Bergen Peak from home
Idaho Springs to Colorado Mines Peak
Squaw Mountain from home
Mount Evans from home

Tuesday, June 2

Rain Pants

I finally used my rain pants.



I need the mileage bad for the TBP. So I only got 9.25 miles this morning, at least I got that.

The worst part of commuting in the rain is dealing with all the wet stuff once I get to work. It wasn't too bad though.

Hopefully it'll be drier the rest of the week so I can crank out the miles. If I get in another 91 miles by Friday I'll have ridden 500 miles in a month time-frame.