A year is a long time to be working towards a goal - espcially when there’s so many individual milestones to be met along the way. In 2018, ...

May 29, 2012

Busy June coming up

June hasn't even started and it's already packed full of stuff and races. I was hoping with less travel this year, I'd have more time for fun stuff, like epic rides and camping trips. It all starts early on June 1, as my mother is attempting her first 24 Hour race at 24 hours of E-rock. She's racing with Noemi from CTS in the two person division. We're loading up the turtle with all her gear and Nick will be running pit crew through the night. I'll be joining them Saturday morning to help out for the rest of the 24 hour race. I was invited to join a team, but between work and such had to decline.

Then Mom heads home and we head north. I may be invoking Murphy again, but the forecast is looking hot for the rescheduled Battle the Bear. I'm still gonna bring ALL my warm clothes this time. And I do mean all... Hopefully this time, we will get to race for the full 60 miles! I'm looking forward to throwing down some hot laps on the Bear Creek Lake Park single track.

Three days later, the first race in the Ascent Cycling Series - the local "short track on steroids" series that runs for five Wednesday nights through the summer. The racing and the temperatures are usually hot, so hopefully the Bear Creek Terrace course will be nice to me. A week later, the first trip to Palmer Park for the Ascent Series. An new venue with plenty of rocks to play on!

But before that race starts, it's getting organized for the 24 hours in the Enchanted Forest. This will be our first trip to New Mexico and our first time on the trails of Gallup. We have no idea what to expect since neither Nick nor I have ever been in the Zuni Mountain. I think it's going to be an adventure and a great race to test out the Exposure Lights.

Finally. Yes, finally, my first Xterra of the year. The weekend after our 24 hour race, its up to Wyoming for Xterra Curt Gowdy. It's the first year for this race, put on by the same crew that does Xterra Lory. I've heard some really good things about the bike course, and the trails in general at Curt Gowdy State Park. It sounds hard, a real mountain bike course. I think this will be an awesome race, even if my swimming and running have taken a back seat to my riding. I'm looking forward to the insanity, but tired just from reading the schedule!

May 28, 2012

Exposure Lights Bench Test

Because 24 hour racing is greatly dependent on knowing how equipment performs, Nick ran a test of our new lights. He wanted to see exactly how long each of the Exposure Lights we have would last, so we could plan our laps at the upcoming 24 hour races. Please take a look at the chart he wrote up. There's some really good data, and some really impressive numbers. Click on the link below for the full PDF.

Exposure Lights Bench Test 

May 25, 2012

Welcome Exposure Lights!!

Nick and I are pleased to announce an official light sponsor for the 2012 24 Hour season - Exposure Lights USA. We will be using the Exposure Lights for all our 24 hour races and night rides from here on out. This is an exciting partnership that will literally light up our nights!

Why Exposure Lights? Well, it's a clean system with a no fuss on/off and setting toggle switch that easy to use, even with heavy gloves. (Nick loves that, especially in the winter.) The helmet mount for the Diablo light is robust and features a simple ball joint system that makes it easy to adjust on the fly. It's also withstood a few of Nick's high speed wipeouts. The bar mounting clamp is equally durable and easy to use - and very light. The aluminum housing for the light system is both functional and elegant.

There are several models of lights, from the tiny 325 lumen Joystick to the burly 1925 lumen Six Pack that will light the trail for yards. All the lights are modeled after the same concept - the smooth aluminum tube. Each model features 2-3 settings for lumen output and burn time, allowing us to customize the amount of light we have and how long we can ride.

But the most appealing feature of the Exposure Lights is the self contained, Cable Free Design. The light is easily and quickly mounted to either bar or helmet. Bar light? Just mount the Quick Release Bracket, adjust the light and you're good to go for a few hours. No more fussing with strapping the battery down, getting the cords squared away where it's not getting tangled, then re-adjusting the light. Helmet light? Clamp the light into the featherweight Joystick Bracket, adjust without tools and off into the darkness. No need to contort yourself or find a friend to tuck the battery away. And some of the models are small enough to throw into a backpack for emergency use on an epic ride or for Bike Packing.

So look for us to be rocking the Diablo, MaXx-D and Toro lights from Exposure lights this summer and winter. Every day is a good day to ride and now night is even better!

May 24, 2012

Piles Peak Sports

I'm going to be splitting my time between two blogs for a while this summer. As part of the Sand Creek/Ascent Cycling series, I'll be posting some of my ramblings and race reports over on Pikes Peak Sports - the digital stomping ground for the Pikes Peak region. Generally, if it's related to the Ascent Cycling Series, I'll be writing on that site. I'll either re-post here a little later or just put up a link to the articles. It's gonna be a fun summer of mountain bike racing in Colorado Springs and I'm happy to be a part of it.

My first post is up over there - here's the link -

Enjoy the mountain biking in Colorado Sprigs the summer!

May 23, 2012

Reschedule headaches

I've never put on a race - closest I've come has been volunteering. I know a lot of things go into hosting a race like Battle the Bear, from permits and course marking to food and volunteer logistics. Getting everything in place once seems hard enough, but twice? Nearly impossible. So I have nothing but respect for the Warriors Cycling crew with the headache that rescheduling the rained/mudded out Battle the Beat has become. Bear Creek Lake Park is a popular place and there are lots of events going on. So it's not as easy as just picking a weekend and saying we'll race then. They have to work with the park, the look at semi open weekends in the packed mountain biking calendar.

I also have to respect that Thane and Co are trying to include the riders in making the decision on the reschedule. But I think it's a case of you can please some of the people all of the time or all of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time! Every weekend in the summer has something going on at this point and many riders have made plans for the entire season. And what one racer thinks isn't important might be a deal breaker for another! I know that's the case for Nick and I - we have some important races that others aren't even thinking about.

In the end, we'll have a new race day and the Battle the Bear will finally happen. If Nick and I can be there, we'll be racing all out. If not, well that's life and good luck to everyone racing! (But it's been funny reading some of the comments people have been making about various dates...)

May 21, 2012


Since there was no race this weekend, Nick and I went exploring on Sunday. (A smart call, I don't think the trails would have dried enough to be rideable. And I don't like riding in clay, cement mud) With the Pikes Peak atlas in Nick's pack, we headed up Gold Camp Road. I wanted a bit of a workout and took the climb a little harder, settling into steady state effort. It felt good to burn some of the energy stored from the taper for the race. At the top, we pulled out the map. Time to go find some new trails.

My turn to enjoy the view - looking out over Ft Carson and 115

And we did. With a mix of fun riding, some steep hike-a-bike sections and a few technical sections it was a slow but cool hour and a half. The views at the top were worth all the effort to get there. And we saw where some of the other trails we're looking at might go. But that's exploring for another day. The drop to Old Stage was loose, with lots of decomposed granite scree, but still fun. We finished out the ride on a new trail for me, but one that Nick's done a few times - MacNeil and Swischer trails. I walked a few things and was wishing for a bigger bike and dropper post on that descent! But a good day, perfect weather and fun trails. Made up for not racing on Saturday!
Nick enjoying the view - a little overexposed from the camera phone!

May 19, 2012

Battle of the (un)Bear(able) Mud

When I packed my bag Thursday night, I felt like I was forgetting something. Couldn't place it, so didn't worry. I'd checked the weather forecast for Battle the Bear 60 mile race pretty regularly - and at that time, it was for mostly sunny, highs low 60s and a chance of rain in the afternoon. Having had mud experiences where I've pushed and carried my bike off the trails in Beak Creek Lake Park, I kept my fingers crossed that is would stay nice.

Thunderstorms greeted us at Chatfield Res last night. Off and on sprinkles cooled the air. Then I checked the forecast again - that mostly sunny had changed to mostly cloudy, with a high of 60 and 70% chance of rain. At 3:00 am, I woke up to thunder and a downpour. And it kept raining. And kept raining. At 5:30, when my alarm went off, it was still raining. With the race still on at that point, we prepared as best we could and headed to the race venue. And it was still sprinkling on and off as we were driving.

Got to BCLP and Nick asked Thane if the course was clear. He was in the process of sending a scout out to double check trail conditions. So we continued setting up, tent, cooler, etc.. Then back to the camper to change. And I found out what I forgot. All my warm clothes! I had knee warmers, a best and my Gore Jacket. No wool socks, no booties, no head band, warm jersey or warm gloves. Uh uh - 40 degrees, windy and raining and I had nothing worth riding in! I borrowed Nicks spare wool socks and bundled up as best I could. About ten minutes before start, I gave Nick the gore jacket. Then a bolt of thunder and it started raining again. With three minutes to start, I hustled back over and got the jacket back. It might be a race, but I wasn't gonna freeze my ass off!

The start greeted us with wind and rain. I jumped out to an early lead on the first little climb. Then we hit the trails - wet, kinda tacky, but with enough mud to start clinging to everything. First climb was okay - the leaders for the SS men were catching me since the start gap was only a minute. Then the rain started. The tacky trails deteriorated even more to a river of water keeping the mud away. At the base of the second hill, I saw about 6 of the pro men riding down, then bailing towards the road. We were only 10 minutes into the race. I hit the climb and found out why as my tires lost all traction - slipping underneath me. Despite my best attempts, I wasn't able to keep the bike rolling and was off and pushing. And watching my tired swelling with the mud. I was able to ride at the top of the hill and the stream of water in the middle of the trail thankfully cleaned off most of the mud. At least from my wheels. My drive train was another story! The corners were all slippery and nasty with the mud and slime pulling the bike in every direction besides the one I wanted! I was not riding very fast at that point - had quickly abandoned my plan and gone into survival mode. I was gonna ride until someone told me to stop or I had finished 6 laps. A slow climb and descent from Mount Carbon, then into some semidry sand. A relief to be able to pedal without the rear wheel slipping!

At the road crossing, a park ranger was standing in the middle of the traill. "race has been called - take the road back..." Mixed emotions - it was cold, wet, and just plain miserable out. My bike was coated in peanut butter like mud and I was soaked to the bone. Happy to not have to ride another five laps in that, but also annoyed. I knew when I started that was what would happen - soaked, disgusting bike and slimy trails. I felt really strongly that we shouldn't have even started. With the amount of overnight rain and the looming clouds, trail conditions were questionable. Add in the rain as we started and it became unrideable. As of now, it's a wait and see until 5:00 tonight to see if the race is rescheduled for tomorrow. I have to admit to hoping its just canceled. I don't really want to try again and put both my bike and the clay trails through that again.

May 18, 2012

Amoeba Lights

It's no secret that Nick and I have been using Amoeba lights for our 24 hour races and night rides for the last several years. It's a simple system - just an on/off toggle switch that's easy to find and use, even with heavy winter gloves. The light and battery are compact and weigh less then 7 ounces combined. That's light enough to mount both to the helmet, so we don't have to worry as much about the cords. The housing is pretty durable and the lights have survived high speed wipeouts and multiple tree branch attacks. The connection between the battery and the light is secure, so little chance of it coming loose mid ride. The connector is truly water proof and weathered the 2011 24 Hrs in the Old Pueblo. And the 600 lumen output and three hour burn time was comparable with heavier, more expensive set ups.

It was also nice to be able to support a local Colorado company, based just outside of Denver. Jay makes all the Amoeba lights himself and he takes pride in his work. It also means that a special set up takes no more time to deliver then the standard setup. Want a short and curly or a long and straight battery cable to get the light mounted? Not a problem. It's the excellent customer service that is one of the halmarks of the Amoeba Lights. Jay wants people using his lights out riding, not dealing with issues and is passionate about that. We are sure Amoeba lights will continue to thrive and we wish Jay the best.

But as we've gotten faster and lights brighter, it's time to move on. We will be announcing a new sponsor in the next week - and it's gonna be a great 24 Hour season.

May 16, 2012

Storming the Castle (Rock) - Ridgeline Rampage!

Looking at the paycheck!
Kelli Emmett, (Sonya Looney not pictured,) Me and Natalie Ryan
For the second stop in the RMES, we made the trek north to Castle Rock. The race was held in the Ridgeline open space, on trails about a year old. Twisty, turny, off camber with punchy climbs described the course, with the loose gravel taking many riders down. The scrub oak did little to hide the trail from the blazing sun, as temperatures heated up into the 80s. The racing action was a hot as the weather, with Kelli Emmett (Giant) riding away from the field in 4:42:22. Sonya Looney (Topeak/Ergon) finished second with 4:55:09. I had a stronger race, but still faded near the end to finish third in 5:04.57. Local rider Natalie Ryan (Yeti Beti) used her knowledge of the trails to take fourth in 5:07:33 and Sonya Bugbee (Epic Pro Cycling) finished fifth in 5:22:29. After spending all morning handing me bottles, Nick still had another strong race, taking third in the half marathon single speed men again. He also finished in the top 20 overall at this race!

May 14, 2012

Last minute Mesa Verde

For Nick, at least. A friend's team had fallen apart and Nick was asked if he wanted to go. We had a great time last year, so I said if he wanted to, to go and have some fun. We've never jumped on a race team the day before a race since its usually the two of us. And we have our race schedule pretty well set at the start of the year. So it was a new experience for him. A little crazy since they changed from a two man team to a four person co-Ed team. At the end of the race, the team of Jeremy Furman, Nick, Daniel and Heather Matheny took fifth in the class. Not bad for a last minute team with one rider doing her first MTB race!

I had a nice quiet weekend of working and riding in the clouds. Awesome conditions up in the canyon and good training both days. And so quiet because of the chilly weather. Would have liked to be throwing it down with the CoEd duos, but it's hard to race without getting the training in! Or paying the bills...

May 11, 2012

Misty May Singletrack

I watched the clouds rolling in over the mountains, heavy and dark and full of moisture. By the time I left work, the mist was low over the canyon. Time to break out the winter shoes! And gloves, and Gore jacket. It wasn't super cold when I left the house, but I could feel the chill in the air. My plan was for an easy ride through Stratton, down Columbine, then back in to Stratton. That way I could avoid any mud - those trails are all ones that get awesome with rain, unlike some other areas of town. There were no cars in the parking lot and I had the trails to myself as I pedaled up the single track. Awesome - still, quiet and not another soul in sight. I took the longest way up to Gold Camp so I could enjoy the rare ride with no one else around. On Gold Camp, I met a road cyclist - man, he looked miserable! I had a big grin, winter shoes, warm gloves and was happy to be on my bike. I think he under dressed a little...

The clouds descended even lower into the canyon as I climbed to the drop into Columbine. A gentle mist enveloped the trees and rocks around me. I put on my warm coat and hat before dropping in - the air was cold and a wet cold is the worst. I was hoping Columbine would be as quiet as Stratton so I could take a few chances and have some fun. One hiker and her dog, then a mountain biker coming up. Right in the middle of one of the switchback sections! Saw no reason to be rude and got out of the way. Then I recognized the bright green helmet - Cameron cranking up the trail. At least he had gears on his bike today... He was almost around and gone before he realized it was me. No worries - I don't have an easy to recognize helmet! I cleaned all the switchbacks and blasted back into Stratton. The air was really heavy now and my coat was getting wet. But the clouds deadened the sounds of the city and the mists hid the buildings from view. I could have been off in the mountains, in some remote area instead of minutes from my home.

I think it's gonna be a cold few hours tomorrow. But it's gonna be fantastic - this nice gentle rain will bring outstanding conditions to the trails have warm clothes and toe warmers will ride!

May 9, 2012


Well, it's safe to say I finished Ridgeline Rampage in better shape the VooDoo Fire. I was able to help Nick in his race, handing out bottles and such. I wasn't hobbling around, unable to move from my back. Yeah, I was tired, sore and more then a little stiff. But overall, I was feeling a lot less beat up. And I felt a lot better in the days after the race. I think its due to recovery and that I was smarter about my recovery this time. I started replacing fluids, electrolytes and calories much sooner. I did a little bit of a cool down - not much since I didn't have a lot of time before Nick was gonna come through on his first lap. I was also much smarter about my activities the following day. Instead of spending three hours in the sun, I did a short, really easy road ride followed by a short swim. Yeah, I did work, but it was an easy day. Getting in the pool for that easy swim was great, especially after the ride. I was able to flush out a lot soreness from the race. It showed in my run on Tuesday - a lot smoother and more comfortable. So I'm learning some things, which is good. Recovering from an endurance mountain bike race is a lot different then from an Xterra! The better I can be about my recovery, the more I can get out of the training after the races! One more "short" one, then, then the big test...

May 7, 2012

You might be a noodle person...

Since I stopped focusing on Xterra, I haven't been getting up early to swim with the Masters group at CC. I've been swimming on my own at 24 hour fitness, which is really close and convenient. It also gets pretty busy at times. Sometimes lap swimmers, sometimes water aerobics types, the random person jumping into the pool from the steam room... And the noodle people. I'm not sure there's a true definition of noodle person - I think the hot tub dwellers think I'm a noodle person when doing my drills. I'm usually pretty lucky, I don't mind sharing a lane as long I don't get swum over or have to swim over anyone. I have changed my workout at times so I don't get frustrated, but still get the yards in. I've said it before, we all have a right to the pool and need to learn to share. However, sometimes, when someone gets in the water, you just know its gonna be bad, funny or both. So, here are a few definitions of a noodle person, with respect to Jeff Foxworthy, of course....

You might be a noodle person if:
- You jump in to swim laps with your deck shoes still on.
- You are swimming with sunglasses (not tinted goggles) inside.
- You touch both lane lines at the same time while doing backstroke.
- you displace more water then a whale, but without any forward movement.
- Your butterfly looks like your being attacked by a shark.
- Lap swimming means sprinting. 25, then hanging on the wall for five minutes, panting.
- you plan on teaching your buddy to swim, but you can't even put your face in the water.
- If the lap swimmers want to extend their kicking set to watch the entertainment.
- If the water aerobics gang starts laughing at you
- If triathletes can practice rough water open water swimming in your lane.
- And finally, if at any point, you are bouncing, resting or floating with a noodle.

May 6, 2012

RMES take 2 - Ridgeline Rampage

Oh wow. Another long race, another hot day with plenty of dust and some awesome fast racing from some speedy women. The course lived up to my expectations - fast, deceptively hard with some punchy steep climbs and false flats, loose and twisty. I didn't have time to enjoy the views this time, as the race was on from the gun. Kelli Emmett took command from the start, finishing in 4:42:22. Sonya Looney was second with a 4:55:09 and I finished third in 5:04:57. It was close for the first three laps, but I started fading a little in the heat. Overall, a good race - felt much better then at VooDoo. Nick also had a great race, taking another third in the half marathon SS class. I'll get the full race report posted later this week.