Monday, April 30, 2007

When in doubt...Ride.

With the desk job daily grind, I often get home, grab dinner and then find myself struggling to find the motivation to get on the bike and go ride. When I ultimately get my butt up and go ride, I am 99% of the time very glad I did so. I've come to find that the Niner SS is a great "I don't want to ride, I'd rather be lazy" motivation tool. That bike is a heck of a lot of fun, and the simplicity of the rigid 29er SS just a blast to ride.

So after my long road ride on Saturday, I decided to take it easy on Sunday and do an easier recovery ride around town on the SS. Jill joined me, and we cruised our way across town along the bike paths. We ambled along for about 15 miles while enjoying some new sights and warm temps.

Today, I wasn't feeling great on the way home from work, but after some dinner I felt fine again. I tried to find an excuse not to ride, as I truly wanted to be a lazy slug.

Rain clouds. Wind.

I was not feeling motivated at all, but then I saw Nancy the Niner staring back at me. I told myself I'd just get out for 30-45 minutes, at least I'd be getting out. So I headed out, rain threatening and winds gusting. I rolled around the neighborhood and through the parks, and I was having a great ride and feeling good.

Given the good legs and nice weather, I headed out on the dirt roads for some gravel road cruising. I spun around the lake, seeing as many critters and people out for a evening walk as I did cars and then headed for home. Something about the dirt roads, animals, and wide-open spaces just has a truly calming effect on me. Gone were the day's stresses and back was the joyful feeling of a kid on his bike.

And since today wraps up April for me, I figured I would look back at my totals. Not a great month, but I finished pretty strong. Taking out the skiing from the 1st half of the month, this is what my April ended up totaling:

14 rides (8 Road, 6 29er SS)
322 miles (250 road, 72 29er SS)
20.5 hours ride time (14.5 road, 6 29er SS)
12,500 feet climbing

May is a big month, and I plan to build and progress. Stay tuned...

More Cake

Got to Boulder last night for my 4th (or is it 5th?) Cake concert. Probably the most laid back concert I've ever attended, but Cake sounded great live as always. The Coors Event Center (where CU plays basketball) isn't really a great place to see a concert, but it was nice to just kick back in a chair and enjoy some good music.

The venue wasn't even close to full, which was likely partially due to the fact the concert was only announced two weeks before the show for some strange reason. As always at Cake concerts, the crowd was a mix of frat boys/sorority girls and the older working crowd.

I found it incredibly appropriate to be hearing the lyric of "Is it you or your parents in this income tax bracket?" during their rendition of "Rock and Roll Lifestyle" in the middle of Boulder which is full of Trustafarians living out their college dreams on Daddy's credit cards.

A good set list with a mix of recent and past hits, including one of my favorites that I had never heard live before, "Comfort Eagle". They played most of the radio hits, but the set list was pretty short. They played for about an hour before taking a 2 minute encore break, then playing a quick 3 songs and calling it a night. Definitely not quite the same atmosphere as the Paramount where Sarah & I saw them last, but I wouldn't pass up the opportunity to see one of my favorite bands when they are so close to home.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Go Chris Go!

Just caught up on the audio race reports for Trans Iowa v3, and sounds like my riding buddy and fellow blog-aholic Chris (aka Pivvay or SlipAngles) is killing it out there.

Also, Mrs. Slip Angles, Marni, has several updates from Chris via cell phone on her blog. Looks like Chris is in the top 3 in SSers, and probably top 5 overall.

For those who don't know and don't click the link, Trans Iowa is a 320ish mile race across Iowa. They started at 4am Saturday morning, and the winners are expected to finish around 6-7am Sunday morning. When is the last time you pounded out 300+ miles of dirt/gravel roads on a SS mountain bike? Yeah me neither.

Morning Update:
Chris finished 2nd SSer, and 6th overall. Impressive finish Chris, well done.

Beautiful Weather = Good day for a ride

Spring has made a triumphant return to the Front Range, and it has been quite welcome. After rain/snow fell for a couple days earlier this week, the weather has turned back to incredible and I took advantage of it today.

Jill headed to the movies to see Fracture with Sarah & Kim Turner, so I headed out on Ruby for a longer ride. During the week I routinely get in 20 - 30 mile rides, but I haven't really been putting in the long, hard days that I need so I can determine where I am in my endurance fitness. With high temps in the upper 70s, I deemed to day a perfect day to test my legs out a bit.

When I left I was planning on riding at least 50 miles, with the possibility of putting in a century ride if I was feeling up to it. Given the ramp up in mileage, I wanted to keep the climbing manageable, so I started my ride by heading towards Boulder. The ride is a gradual climb into Boulder, then gets steeper as you start nearing the foothills. I forced myself to really keep the pace low to ensure my heart rate stayed in the Zone 2 - 3 range as to not burn myself up too early.

The other thing I needed to focus on today was eating. I really tend to fall apart around the 2 hour mark if I'm not taking in some food, so today I ensured I was eating and drinking even when I didn't feel I needed it. So on today's menu was Jelly Belly Sport Beans and Clif Bar Shot Blocks.

An hour into the ride I was in Boulder and turning north onto Highway 36. The second hour clicked away and before I knew it I was heading into Lyons to do the "Fruit Loops". The Fruit Loops are just a series of side road detours that are cyclist friendly and actually pretty scenic.

I pounded out two of the fruit loops, then stopped by and said hi to Dave at Redstone Cyclery. Busy day for Dave, people all over the shop and standing outside. I grabbed a bit of water and then hit up the last of the Fruit Loops. As I was finishing the 3rd Fruit Loop, I heard the cell phone ringing. I checked the voice mail and it was Jill inviting me to dinner with her and the girls.

Hmmmmmm.....Ride another 30 miles or go eat dinner with three girls.

Easy decision.

I stopped long enough to grab a Gatorade, and then started heading home on the gradual downhill on Highway 66. For the first time all day, I let my heart rate escalate a bit as the end was in sight. True I wouldn't end up getting in really big mileage, but it was good enough for me today. My legs actually felt pretty good considering I had just put 60 miles and almost 3.5 hours of ride time in so I feel pretty confident in where my fitness is right now.

Almost 60 miles, nearly 3.5 hours ride time for about a 16.5 mph average. Not fast, but I was purposely keeping my speed in check to save for the 100 mile attempt if time permitted. Total elevation gain was around 2,500 feet, which as a total is a month best but the elevation per mile wasn't there today.

Weather looks great for the next 4 or 5 days, so I expect to pound out some good mileage.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Suburbia Triathlon

Sunday I took part in a grueling event consisting of 3 distinct portions, the lawn mowing, the dog poo cleanup and the road bike. Its a tough event without glamor, fame or fortune but one that us mindless suburbia living lemmings take part in quite often.

First up was the lawn mowing, and I have to admit my skills were rusty coming off the long winter layoff. The thick grass in the backyard kept me down, but I pushed through and emerged mid-pack after the grass was cut. The 2nd event is downright nasty, but a necessary evil. I made quick work of the dog residue and then it was time for the final leg, the 50 mile bike.

The bike course was a mystery to me up to the point I jumped on the bike and headed out. I knew the course would involve some real climbing, which was good as I needed to test my early season legs. Sure I've been doing some climbing, but nothing too steep more of the gradual variety of climbing.

So off I went towards Carter Lake, where a somewhat steep switchback climb would await me after 15ish miles of mainly flat terrain. I was making sure to pace myself and go out easy. I was doing a nice job of keeping my heart rate in the 140-150 range (Zone 2 for me) while maintaining a nice cadence and speed.

As I made the left hand turn off Larmier County Rd 23E towards Carter Lake, the elevation ramped up quickly and so did my heart rate. You don't realize how much you are climbing as you approach the final steep leg, but you are gaining elevation quickly as you ride towards the foothills.

I pulled myself up the final climb, cresting onto the dam and some relatively flat terrain and my heart rate quickly came back from the stratosphere. After a brief stop to grab another Gatorade, I hit the road for the wicked fast descent. I've done this descent a couple times before, but yesterday's trip down was downright fast. I let it run a bit up top, and hit a scorching 53 mph coming down the back side before coming to my senses and reigning it in a bit.

After the big drop, I had another grinder of a climb. I as trudged along up the climb, I ran across a big pack of elk who were quite interested in me. They took notice and started following me up the road as I passed them. You'd think elk in these parts would be more used to cyclist than cars, and maybe thats why they showed interest in me.

After that I put my head down and dug in as I battled a head and cross wind the rest of the way home. Being out on the flats solo in a head wind feels a lot like climbing, as you feel you should be going faster than you are but to do so hurts in a big way.

Ended up putting in a 46 mile loop with a bit over 2,000 feet of climbing. Despite the harder climbing and windy conditions, I still knocked out at 17.6 mph average which was certainly acceptable for me. I need to start ramping up not only the mileage but also the intensity of my climbing as there is no place to hide when you hit the steep climbing.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Wile E. Coyote on the hunt

As we were leaving RMNP yesterday, per the usual we saw a huge herd of elk grazing about in the valley. As we drove by out of the corner of my eye I spotted a coyote stalking up on the elk. We quickly pulled over and I started shooting. I must have shot 100+ pics of the series.

Wile E. stalks the herd

Well it turned out that the coyote wasn't quite as ambitious as we had originally thought. We thought he was trying to sneak up on the elk and take one down solo, which would have been impressive to say the least, but he was actually hunting prairie dogs. He got close to grabbing one a couple of times, but a serious crowd on onlookers had gathered and I'm sure we were hindering his chances and concentration.

Regardless, it was a really cool display of nature's food chain on display. The coyote looked really healthy and good, especially just coming off the winter so I'm sure he has been eating pretty well.

Saturday in RMNP, destination - unobtainable

We got up and headed to Rocky Mountain National Park Saturday morning, hoping to reach Ypsilon Lake above the Alluvial Falls area. Its a 9 mile round trip with about 2,000 feet of elevation gain to get there, so not exactly a walk in the park. We had our snowshoes in the car, but didn't want to carry them and I had forgotten the bungies needed to secure them, so off we went without them hoping to not encounter super deep post hole inducing snow.

The trail starts steep, and the grind continues most of the way. The good part was that the early sections had no snow, even in the shaded areas. We pressed on making good time up the climbing sections and stopping very little. We soon got to the point where we would cross the stream that feeds the Alluvial falls, and since we'd never ventured this high up in this area of the park, pics followed.

"Big Arms" for Linda

The steep terrain continued, but the dryness stopped abruptly when we crossed the 9200 foot elevation mark. Jill was optimistic about the snowpack level, and I was a bit pessimistic (I guessed 9k feet).

As we crested 10k feet, we were traveling along a spine which was pretty cool. The bad thing was that the skies were darkening, temps were dropping and we could tell a front was moving through. So you don't want to stop too long on the spine, especially when you glance over and see a smoked tree from a lighting strike...

We pressed on, enduring non-stop climbing end what seemed to be endless snowbanks. I ran ahead a couple of times to scout out, then called back to Jill on the radios. We had gone 3 miles of the 4.5 and didn't want to give up. Here Jill gives me the "not another climb look".

Shortly after cresting this climb, we ran into a flatter section. Of course, it was also completely snowed in with 3 feet of crunchy white snow blanketing the ground every direction. We followed some tracks and looked for the yellow tags on the trees, but we could tell we weren't going to get much further without snow shoes. So as I started postholing every step, I stopped turned around and grabbed one more picture of Jill trudging through the snow. We moved back to the flat area, ate our lunch then proceeded to zip back down the mountain moving rather quickly to avoid the cool temps and the storm that appeared to be very near.

We didn't hit our destination, but there just wasn't much we could do. We talked to another couple who had been up in the area trying to ice climb, and they warned of waist deep snow further ahead and that they ultimately abandoned hopes of climbing due to their inability to navigate the correction direction. Not exactly words of encouragement.

A good, tough hike regardless.

Friday, April 20, 2007

24 Solo

Got to Boulder last night for the Colorado premier of 24 Solo, by the same team that producer Off Road to Athens. A couple years ago, I missed the premier of Off Road to Athens and I've been anxiously awaiting this premier since the first trailer I saw for this film.

I've got to say that 24 Solo is a really great film, that truly makes you feel like you are on the course with the crazy nature of racing a mountain bike for 24 hours. I've been to a couple of 24 hour races to witness the undertaking, but the elite level portrayed in the movie and their ability and willingness to push their bodies beyond the breaking point is intriguing.

I won't spoil the film for anyone who doesn't know the outcome or hasn't seen the movie, but its an epic battle between the 6 time defending 24 hour solo champion and an Aussie newcomer. These two fuel a battle for the ages, and its depicted in a grand fashion in the film.

The thing I really enjoyed about the film was that the filmmakers did a nice job of interjecting some light hearted moments into the film. The crew chief for the 6x champion Chris Eatough, "Pos" should have his own reality TV show. The guy is a walking quote board, and he provides almost all the truly memorable lines in the movie.

If your a cyclist, or someone who enjoys watching the Iron Man triathlons, EcoChallenges or things of that nature then you should definitely check this movie out if it shows near you (or buy the DVD). I highly recommend it, and already have the DVD on pre-order.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

There may be something to this drafting stuff...

Took the opportunity to get out tonight and join up with some of the Blue Sky Velo team on a "no drop" ride. Figured that might be a good introduction to riding with the group, and I could get an idea of what my fitness was like compared to some others.

I showed up just in time to have a brief introduction, and then get rolling along down the road. There were 10 or 12 of us, probably 7 or 8 guys at least 3 women. We set out 2 wide pedaling along at a nice easy pace, and tucked in behind the riders in front it was very non-taxing to my legs.

As we approached Rabbit Mountain, the two riders in front peeled off which left me and another road newbie on the front for the grinder climb up to Rabbit Mountain. Not a big deal, we just carried along keeping a steady pace. What we didn't realize was that we had dropped the field behind us. We dialed it back a bit and we all came together for the harder part of the climb.

On the way back, we were zipping along with gravity pushing our speeds quite high. One rider had gotten off the front off the pack, and as the group I was riding with slowed I decided it would be a good excercise to try and bridge the gap up to him, so I went. I jumped out and mashed big ring, with a quick glance behind me I realized I was solo. After about .5 mile, I bridged the gap and tucked in nicely behind the solo rider out front. After getting into his draft, I was cruising at 25mph with little effort at all. I was starting to dig this draft stuff.

We regrouped, climbed up 36 to St Vrain Rd and then found some more downhill excitement. Once again, the big British guy (who's name I can't recall) powered off the front of the pack, establishing about a 10-15 second gap on the rest of us. I jumped out and powered down, this time with 2 riders going with me. I drug out trio up and tucked in behind the big British diesel, who was up front just pounding out the 53/12 ferociously. We powered down the 5 mile stretch hitting speeds between 25 and 30 mph for the 5 mile stretch.

I felt a bit guilty sitting in on the big guy's draft, but wasn't sure I'd be able to get around him and pull at his speed so I just stayed tucked in. The train of 5 of us pulled a couple of minute gap on the rest of the pack. Its pretty amazing what kind of gap you can put on a group in such a short time when you've got someone out front just killing it like the Big Brit was. Had the 5 of us been all rotating through and pulling up front, we could have sustained this pace for quite some time on downhills or flats.

I think maybe this wind resistance thing just might be real.

And as always, here is the elevation graph from tonights ride. Got in just under 27 miles tonight in about 90 minutes, 17.5ish average.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Sunday Nights are for Tired Legs

Building on the non-stop Saturday, Jill and I got up Sunday morning and immediately started contemplating our day. We quickly decided to mountain bike, and that Rabbit Mountain would be our destination. I was about ready to grab Betty the Yeti (Rabbit is super rocky), when I posed the "which bike?" question to Jill and she replied with Nancy.

Uh oh.

My legs were a bit cooked from Saturday, and the gears and suspension would have been nice. But I built Nancy the Niner with the purpose of riding it with Jill, so without second thought I grabbed the singlespeed, rigid and headed out.

Rabbit has a steep, rocky initial climb but it only lasts for the first mile or so. As I started up the singletrack climb, I felt surprisingly good. I was out of the saddle, dancing up and down on the pedals without much effort or pain. I reached the end of the first climb and was pretty sure that was one of my faster times up that section. With only one gear you have two options: pedal or stop.

Jill rode really well, especially after cresting the initial climb. Rabbit has some rocky, technical stuff that can sneak up on you but after shaking off the rust she was moving along really well. I think she is comparably as strong right now as she was at the end of last summer. We did a couple of laps up top, then pointed the bikes down. Strangely enough, the rigid steel singlespeed wasn't quite as plush bombing down the rocks as my 6" travel Yeti. Weird.

Random pics from our ride:

Damn this gorgeous weather!

When I got back from the mountain bike ride, I thought it necessary to go out for a road bike ride. So after a brief stop for some lunch, we got back home and I grabbed Ruby and headed out on a road loop. I decided since I ride the loop out to Rabbit Mountain and back so much, I would go a different route and head to Boulder for a loop of distance that would be determined by how I felt.

You don't realize it, but from Longmont to Boulder is uphill the entire way and it gets steeper right as you hit Boulder (see elevation graph below). I felt OK as I pedaled down the shoulder on the Diagonal Highway, and the sunny skies and warm temps were motivation enough.

As I hit Jay Rd and started to cut over to Highway 36, my legs started to falter a bit. I didn't have the power I typically do, and my heart was beating faster than it should have been. Regardless, I pushed on just using the gears to help me get up the climbs all the while questioning the sanity of going on this ride when I knew that my legs were fried. Only one way to get stronger right?

As I cruised north on Highway 36, or as I like to call it the Cyclist Expressway, I decided I'd bail a couple miles early on to Nelson Rd which would lead me back to Longmont a little quicker. Turning back east was refreshing as I finally found some downhill terrain and my legs started coming back to me a bit. I pulled over under a shade tree to get off the bike for a bit, stretch my lower back and have a quick snack to help get me home.

After the snack, I felt better so I pressed on making much better time with potential energy on my side this direction. I cruised pretty effortlessly till I got to the final climbs leading to our neighborhood. These normally sedate climbs took on teeth yesterday as my legs were just totally cooked from the previous couple of days. I grunted my way up and over, then headed for the house.

Ended up getting in a 40 mile loop with around 1500 feet of climbing, and put in an average speed right about 17mph. I was actually quite pleased to see that I was able to put those kind of numbers up as I was pretty cooked from the start and without having anyone else to block the wind or chat with I wasn't too motivated to push hard.

Here is the elevation profile for the road ride. It doesn't feel like you are climbing the whole time, but you obviously are.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Busy Saturday

Saturday was a busy day that saw me running all over the place from dusk till dawn. Stop 1 was an abbreviated stop at the Boulder Roubaix. I had planned on being there for at least the first round of races, but changed plans so that I could get to have breakfast with my Dad before he had to fly back to Oklahoma.

I got to see the first lap of the 8:30 races, snapped a couple pics and then blazed a trail. Here's a couple of the pics...

I was trying to pick Pivvay out of the lineup, found him, snapped a pic and then quickly realized I composed it perfectly with a stop sign in the middle of it. Nice.

Off to breakfast, dropped Yack off at the airport and then back home. When we got back, we decided to get the dogs out for a hike since they had been left home so much lately, so off we went to Lion's Gulch towards Estes Park. Nice day, we had a good hike and the dogs were giddy to be out again.

Molly is happy to be on the trail

Baloo races back to see what is taking us so long

Molly wants a drink

Molly finds her drink

Molly walks the plank

The sky is a different shade of blue in the high country

The day was too nice to not get a bike ride in, so when we got back I grabbed the Niner SS and headed for some dirt roads. I had no real agenda or path, but ended up rambling along for 16+ miles on some loamy, dusty dirt roads. Not a lot of climbing, but a surprisingly tough ride given the loose road and lack of gears.

After cleaning up with met up with my MJ and Sarah in Boulder for some grub at The Med, a trendy little place with a less than typical menu. After we finished up with dinner, we stopped by Scott & Kim Turner's house for a night cap and then finally headed home for some much needed rest.

On to Sunday....

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Wii cures knees

Well maybe not cures, but takes your mind off the pain. My sister Sarah got her ACL replaced yesterday, and has been doing remarkably well getting up and around although today was her first day of physical therapy and it took its toll on her. So tonight we converged on the northern most White household for some Pumphouse/Redzone food and some time playing the Nintendo Wii.

We had a round of bowling, then some home run derby but the real battle was on the cow racing game on Wii Play. Sarah dominated, then Jill started picking it up and I pretty much sucked the whole time. Regardless it was family fun with the 5 of us all together for the first time in at least 6 months.

Tomorrow Yack has to fly back home, but MJ will be staying for a bit longer to make sure Sarah is up and going.

Friday the 13th Storm of Death!

Yesterday the weather forecasters were calling for 6-18 inches of snow. I checked the forecast at 3pm yesterday to see "100% chance of heavy snow overnight".

That's pretty much a sure fire sign that nothing is going to happen. The one major snowstorm the Front Range had this year (36 inches in about 12 hours) was totally whiffed by the forecasters, yet last night's doomsday forecasts and apocalypse warnings fizzled.

Yesterday even as light snow fell Downtown Denver I declared this latest storm would be a "non-event" and I could not have been more correct. So today the entire Front Range gets to mock the "sky is falling" weather forecasters and be thankful that we have a dry, warm weekend heading our way.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Yesterday's urban ride was today's flat tire.

Spent a lazy evening fixing a flat tire instead of fighting the wind.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Every ride is an adventure

I love getting on the bike with no agenda, no route and just letting the bike go where it wants to end up. I've discovered so many things by just wandering around, and even though I have lived in this town for 2.5 years I continually find new things.

Tonight's find? A pagoda strangely enough. At first I thought "Man I must be fast" but then I couldn't remember crossing any large bodies of water so I realized I was still close to home. No real explanation about why or the significance of it, but there it was in its 4 story splendor, so I felt compelled to take a pic with the Niner.

After that I found a tiny bit of urban singletrack that I cruised up and down, launching off all the rocks I could find. Hopping back on the bike path I rode a mix of pavement and gravel, but all on the path far removed from the cars racing around town. And since it was such a nice day and I was out for an easy ride I goofed around and took some arm-extended self portraits. No amount of Photoshop work can help this ugly mug...

After that I made the turn back home, but kept glancing over my shoulder as the sunset changed every time I looked. A vibrant hole to the heavens let through a bright white light while Long's Peak was shrouded with ominous looking clouds.

Finally hitting the last mile or so before home, I stopped to grab one more pic before the last climb (which always seems bigger on a singlespeed bike) back to the neighborhood. Got in a nice little hour trek across town, covering about 12 miles which is about as much as I can cover with my "trail" gear of 32x20 on right now.

Tonight wasn't about hammering miles or Zone 2, it was just about getting out and enjoying the life I've been given, and life is good. Now go live it.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Another year, free beer and powder

A virtual cornucopia of random things tied together by the common thread of happening in our extended 3 day weekend. Jill, Sarah & I book ended the 3 days with two days (albeit short days) at Winter Park in the snow, but under very different circumstances. Mix that in with a trip to Fort Collins for some free beer and you've got a good weekend.

Friday was a quick trip to Winter Park where we got out of the cold, gloomy skies above Denver to 50s and sunshine. Temps were nice, but snow suffered from so many warm days. Slushy stuff that wasn't great (I've become a snow snob), but it was good to find sunnier skies regardless.

Saturday, first and foremost was Jill & I's 6th wedding anniversary. 6 crazy years before we were just two young Oklahoma kids getting married at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, then fast forward to today and we live just down the hill from there. Life has been good. Gifts? We decided to buy another Thomas Mangelsen photo as our mutual gift, one that we had been eyeing for a while now. So we bought The Prize to compliment our other two, and we really love it.

So how did we spend our 6th year anniversary? Just like all couples, we joined our friends Scott & Kim Turner and my sister Sarah in a trip to Fort Collins to check out some of the local breweries, New Belgium and ODells. Both have tasting rooms where you can try out the various beers on tap, including the new seasonal beers at each place. New Belgium had a party atmosphere, free tastings and coasters that you could mail out as postcards. I apologize in advance to any of you that might get a beer smelling coaster in the mail with some illegible scribble. ODells was more laid back, but fun and with lots of beers that I really liked. New Belgium's new Spring seasonal, Springboard is also very tasty so check it out if you get a chance.

Today was the likely the final ski day in the 06-07 ski season for us and the snow was abundant. The snow report was saying 7" new, and even as we arrived at 9:30 the parking areas were empty and runs barren. 7" was a pretty conservative estimate, as I continuously found knee deep powder even on normally groomed blue runs that get lots of traffic. Sarah & Jill didn't care for the deep stuff, especially with Sarah only being 4 days from major knee surgery. We got in some runs, then ultimately called it an early day as the snow was falling furiously and the long season had taken a toll on the waterproof nature of our soft shells, leaving us all pretty saturated.

My season totals were down from last year, but that's what happens when you get a real job...

Days: 15
Miles covered: 436
Elevation Dropped: 251,680 feet
Max Speed: 54.7
Average Moving Speed: 10.6 mph

Now its full bore cycling time with hiking/camping/etc thrown in for good measure.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

A little bit faster now...

Got my 3rd ride in on the revived version of Ruby last night, and I can't help but marvel about Ruby's transformation. In her stock form, its a very comfortable, long ride type of bike, not slow at all but not exactly fast like a Tarmac either. Since Ruby got her new shoes though, things have been very different.

I've done 3 rides since getting her pieced back together on Sunday, with all three being surprisingly fast rides. The first two weren't supposed to be fast by any stretch, more of the "ease back into it" type of Zone 2 ride. Despite the easy effort (note: easy is a very relative term) I was putting out, my speeds were fast.

How fast?

Well as far as average speed goes, all three are in my top 5 average speeds for the last two summers. Its kind of apples to oranges considering these 3 said rides were only 1 - 1.5 hour rides, but considering I wasn't hammering and still had large average speeds I am excited. As far as a quantitative number, I've gone from 16.5 mph averages to 18.5ish. Thats a pretty significant jump in my opinion.

So what is causing it? I think its a combination of things, including:

1. I'm more fit, with better base endurance than ever before
2. Ruby's new shoes (Michelin Pro2 Race) are a lot faster than the porky, slow stock tires
3. The routes I've been doing are pretty flat, not any hard climbing

Last night's route was a 27ish mile loop out to Rabbit Mountain and back. I did wuss out and not do the big climb that lurks just around the corner (too much spaghetti for dinner!), but its a nice slowly ascending route with just 3-4 stop lights each direction. The elevation graph looks severe, but a quick glance at the scale shows it isn't really gaining that much elevation. There are plenty of hard climbing days to come, this is just a warm up.

With only 1.5 weeks of ski season left, Rbuy is going to continue to see a lot of miles. The road miles really seem to be the best, most efficient use of time as you can ride as hard or as easy as you want with a seemingly unlimited amount of nice roads with bike lanes or wide shoulders at your disposal.

Its going to be a good biking season...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Tim's new addition

Tim, a coworker of mine at MarkWest, just welcomed a bouncing baby boy into the world today. Ryan May tipped the scale at 7.5 pounds, measuring 21 inches. Tim looks as happy as if he'd just eaten pizza for 14 straight meals.

Congrats Tim & Erica...

Monday, April 02, 2007


March Madness has come and gone, and the rest of us were utterly dominated by Jill's bracket. She started strong, and finished pretty much perfect. For the first time since I've been running a pool, she hit a region completely perfect. She picked every single game of the San Antonio bracket correct.

Here's the gaudy stats:

1st Round - 18 out of 26
2nd Round - 12 out of 16
3rd Round - 7 out of 8
4th Round - 4 out of 4
5th Round - 2 out of 2
Championship - 1 for 1

So in the last 15 games, she hit 14.

She finished ranked at 1606 out of roughly 3 million brackets on Nicely done Jill. She won the pool at my office going away, and had I been smart enough to submit it to the Solarc pool she would have easily dominated that as well.

Well done Jill.