Saturday, August 27, 2011

Practice what you preach!!!

Quick ride at swope today on my freshly rebuilt front wheel with a twist. Pulled into the parking lot with Travis and went to put my front wheel on only to find I had neglected to put the front brake rotor back on the wheel.

I am constantly telling others to use their front brake much more than the rear. This lesson was taught to me by some old goat named Ted out in Colorado. I had been living in Denver for a short period of time and met him on a ride at Mt. Falcon. We hit it off and he was soon giving me a tour of some of the finest singletrack in the front range. Right off the bat he commented on my crappy descending skills, noting I was using my rear brake way to much which caused my rear wheel to slide out around corners, etc. I adapted quickly and have been passing down that good Beta ever since. That and the monster truck technique!

Lately I have been riding my Fixie moutain bike with Bovine quite a bit. In doing so I have been focusing on using no brakes, with the front brake as a back up. Burnsey has the brakeless technique pretty well dialed in, that or his front disc brake is silent. But this was not my fixie, this was my freewheel bike.

Travis said I should just put my rear rotor on the front wheel and ride sans rear brake. Essentially he was saying put you money where your mouth is! 90 minutes later we had ridden most everything at swope twice and Myself and my bike were still intact. Thankfully I didn't end up like this guy.

Yo Bike Source, think I can get a warranty on that frame?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Spoke Pony

I have often professed my love for Swope Trails. So last Saturday I ponied up and did the 6 hour mountain bike race on that sacred ground. First of all the guys responsible for designing and building those trails do not get enough praise. So if you have't put some time working on these trails or whatever is your local trail, get off your arse and grab a pulaski or a McCloud!

Most of the regular Ethos crowd was there such as Kevin, Travis, Sean, Garet, Sarah, JDoug, and Jim Spellman. There was also a laundry list of other jerks that I ride with such as Nick V, Brett S, not to mention some Team Seagal members who had made the long drive across the state.

The start, uphill and paved and not near as frenzied as I anticipated. Hit the single track in good position and killed it for about 10 minutes. Then set it on cruise control and took a nap. That is a lie! I walked the BIG switchback and the jawbreaker switch back without even attempting them in a planned effort to conserve energy. Rode 8-pins, yeah. By the second lap my lower back was tight like a tiger. The rocks were crazy slippery and the tail of my bike, hell my whole bike, was all over the place. All that compensating for my bike taking a schizophrenic line down the trail was wreaking havoc on my back muscles.

On a good note, there was lots of great eye candy on the trail. The Trail Hermits had hilarious signs posted all over the course. "Are we still feeling pretty good about this 32 piece set" was posted just as you exit 8-pins. A blow up doll with fish net stockings and "x'd" out eyes was laying on the side of phase 3 with a sign that read "Dead Hooker Zone," to go along with this there was an overwhelming stench in that area of the woods from a rotting dear carcass. I laughed pretty hard when I rode by the DHZ each lap.

As the laps and time slowly marched forward trail conditions started to improve. The rocks notably less treacherous, and the corners became super tacky. I was fighting to stay cool hydrated and energized. Jer and Zion showed up to cheer us on, I stopped briefly to chat and turned down a chocolate cookie for fear of getting nauseated (doing anything that makes me turn down a chocolate chip cookie is surely a questionable activity). My mom and step-dad showed up to cheer me on as well. then on my final lap my wife arrived to give me encouragement. It was great to have some family there, this was the first time that any of them had ever been to one of my mountain bike races. I always tell them not to come, cause lets face it mountain biking is a pretty lame spectator sport.

I had ridden by myself for pretty much the entire time, it was mind numbing. I had seen Sean once at our pit area. He was having heat issues but still churning out laps on his "tank" of a singlespeed. Kevin was also hanging out in the pit area after his race, er lap! He and Travis' mom were filling bottles and helping me get my camelbacks switched out. At the end of my 7th lap Travis rolls into the pit with JDoug on his heels. We all go out for a final lap just under the 6 hour mark. Travis pushed the pace for me and it hurt big time, but it was just nice to ride with someone. The pain worked well because a guy who was in 2nd place overall didn't go back out for a final lap. And another guy whom I'd been swapping leads with didn't put in as fast a lap. So I took 2nd place overall behind Travis who was a whole lap ahead of me and 1st in SS. Granted there wasn't a huge number of people who showed up for the race, which is real lame. But I had a really good time

After the race we found a nice shady place and hung out with everyone's SO's and kiddo's waiting for awards to be announced. The weather was perfect with a stiff breeze. Ethos peeps had a good showing. Travis took numero uno overall. Sean had to pose for the camera taking 3rd in SS. JDoug took 5th in 30-39. Sarah crushed the ladies as always taking 1st in the 3 hour. Nick V took 2nd in under 29 in the 3 hour and 4th overall in the 3 hour. Garet broke his ferrari of a bike and DNF's, bummer. But he did make up for on Sunday and won the State Singlespeed Championships, who needs gears and full suspension anyway.


About a week ago Bit and I took a whirlwind trip down to her home town of Joplin. It was my first time back since the devastating tornado hit. The destruction was mind boggling. What was more baffling was how everyone who had seen it before was amazed by how much better it looked. Taking a 3/4 mile wide strip of a city away is indescribable. On a good note, the people have rallied and are recovering as best as possible. Getting over any tragedy requires forging on but not forgetting. We arrived Tuesday afternoon, visited with a high school friend of Bit and her children. The next morning I got up early and volunteered for 5 hours before the heat shut down operations. I pulled nails out of salvaged lumber. They were using the lumber to build prefab storage shelters so that people who were able to salvage things from their homes would having something to put their belongings in while in limbo.

One of the things that I couldn't quite get over was the trees. The big trees that were not up rooted were stripped of all of their bark and limbs. the only thing that remained were little stumps where large limbs had once been. All of these trees were covered in leaves like a chia pet or something out of a Shel Silverstein book. I was told that this was their last ditch effort at staying alive, but the Arborist say they will die.

Summer, Going going gone!

Summer is almost over, and while I'm ready for fall weather it has been a good one. The highlight being Bit and I's trip to the great state of Colorado. We couldn't have planned it more perfect. the 10 days we were gone it was over 100 degrees everyday and really humid. In Colorado not so humid or hot. So we took complete advantage of it and had an action packed time.

We first stopped in Conifer to visit Aaron and Becky. They have a great house bordering National Forest with views of nothing but pine covered peaks, and perfect weather being situated at just under 9,000 ft. First day Aaron and I set the alarm for 4 am and made a dash to Eldorado canyon to do one of my favorite routes in the world, Rewritten. Aaron had never been to Eldo and has only done one multipitch route, so needless to say it blew his mind. By the time we got to the exposed knife edge ridge pitch he had brain tissue dripping from every orifice in his head. Next day, the 4 of us went down for a full day rafting trip through the royal gorge. The Rapids were pumping and we all had an excellent time.

Saturday morning we said goodbye to our gracious hosts and took the longest, yet most scenic route possible to Ridgway where we were sharing a VRBO with the Burns, Dory, and Hauber families for 1 week. We had a great house with ample space and kitchen. Each night a different couple was in charge of cooking a community meal, and we ate like kings and queens all week. We were about 20 minutes from Ouray so there was tons of activities to do. It went a little something like this. Day 1, biking and swimming at ridgway state park, followed by a epic hike that Bit and I got slightly lost on. Day 2 rock climbing at the rotary park in Ouray followed by the box canyon falls then being tourists in town. Day 3 we drove to Telluride where the ladies went on a hike with the kiddos and the boys did an mountain bike ride through the very steep trails surrounding town. Day 4 the ladies did an excellent hike to blue lakes sans children. it looked incredible. Then the lot of us went on a mine tour, very cool but a total rip off at the same time.
Here is Bit posing in front of the equally gorgeous lower blue lake

Day 5 Bit and I went on an early morning bike ride then I met up with my pal Ryan Bradley and sampled some of the trails around Ouray on our bikes. After having our fair share of dirt we picked up Bit and Kelly and hit Orvis Hot Springs to soak the legs and soul. Day 6 Ryan, Sean and I arose at 4 am rallied the toyota Yaris up a steep dirt road and summited Mt. Sneffels a local 14er. from the top we could see the blue lakes pictured above. Got back to the rental by 11 am and headed straight to Ridgway state park for stand up paddleboarding. We all took a crack at it on the lake and did well, not sure if any of us would be ready to run some whitewater on one of those things. Day 7 Bit and I hit the road by 5 am and drove straight back to KC and into the heat. We had an awesome time, but certainly needed a vacation to recover from our vacation.