Transcendence

Most people do crazy stuff when they turn 40 - the classic midlife crisis type affair. There's buying a snazzy new car (does a 4WD Merce...

Oct 30, 2012

Something for everyone down at the Lake

I think I may have used this title in the past, but when it comes to the riding down at Lake Pueblo, it's the truth. I am reminded of that every time we make the trek down there; how varied the terrain and trails are out there. There really is something for everyone there - flat, easy and fast, sinuous and twisty along the cliff edges, or the canyon descents. Want the fast stuff - head west to the isolated Voodoo Loop. A little more twisty and view inspired? I like Outer Limits and the new Inner limits for that. And if rocks are your thing (Like Nick) stay on the east side of the park where all the canyons are. There's been some sanitation from the trail fairies - smoothing out the lines, but there are still plenty of big drops and butt pucker moments. Nick also noticed that where there's been some sanitation, there's also been some really big lines created - bigger then what he wanted to ride that day. We spent two cool but sunny days down there last weekend, riding whatever we wanted and got to play on a little bit of everything.

Saturday was the mix day with a little more flat then canyon to warm up to Pueblo riding. We did a few fun drops then headed west one Mesa over. We drilled Outer Limits - always fun to put the pedal to metal on that trail and try not to wipe out on one of the tight turns. And with no one else on the trails, we were able to really fly around the corners. I wasn't the fastest on some of the punchy little climbs, but it was smoother then it's been. Finally, I was feeling the spunk coming back in my legs. The goofing off has worked for the recovery time. Onto Inner Limits and we chilled out again. A new sign marked the entrance to a trail we hadn't ridden before "The Buttes." Why not. Time for some exploring! The drop in even made Nick pause - it was all rideable, as long as you kept your speed and trusted your tires. Which we hadn't done since we didn't know where the trail went! Then the trail leveled out and meandered along the flats separating the Outer Limits mesa from a smaller line of buttes. We actually climbed right up below the rocky section of one of those buttes, hence the name of the trail! On the east side, after riding around the rocks, we reached the end of the trail. Two large flat rocks blocked further riding at that point - still a work in progress, I guess. The Pueblo MTB club does a really good job with developing and building new trails regularly. We turned around and took the southern exit back to Inner Limits - a steep rock slab climb that I didn't make. I ran out of gas about two thirds of the way up. Then it was back to the Arkansas Point area to play in the canyons until we didn't want to ride anymore!

Sunday was Nick's day. That meant the ride was more canyons and fun riding then race style riding. And it was a good change from the season. Up and down, up and down - over the rocks, around the rocks... I don't remember how many times we rode up Rock Canyon, but we dropped Sidewinder twice, Stonehenge once. We also did some of the flat trails between Route 96 and Pronghorn - after riding the log pile a few times. Then Nick decided he wanted to ride Log Drop instead of Waterfall. Okay - haven't ridden that one before! We also hit Broken Hip, Pinball, Free Ride, Keyhole Canyon (a few times). While I realize that some of the trails have been sanitized and made a little easier, I was still really happy to be able to ride it all. We were riding down (and up) things I would have walked even last winter. We spent over an hour just riding up and down the canyons. And I was having a blast the entire time. I was talking to myself the whole time - where to look, where to put my wheel and all over the weight shifting while on the bike. It sounds really silly, especially if someone's close enough to hear. But it works for me and gets me over the rocks. Can't ask for much more then that!

And I can't ask for a better weekend then riding some fun trails with my husband. Even if he did cut my head off in the only picture we took the whole time....

Oct 29, 2012

The challenge of challenges

Ah, Strava Challenges. Always fun, usually nearly impossible to complete (but that's what makes them challenges) and mostly just for bragging rights. I've glanced at the challenges on a regular basis, but only joined two. I completed one of them, but barely made a dent in the other one.The timing was great for the first one - got to use a race with lots of climbing for that one. As for the second one - yeah, right after a race where I needed to take some serious recovery time and not be riding my bike a lot. Part of the reason for that is I join for fun - and don't alter my training much while "competing" in the challenges. So I've tended to ignore the challenges or pick and choose carefully.

So what did I do for my goof off, end of season break? Joined three challenges that I am almost certain to not complete! It's going to be fun to see how far I get with just my normal training load, but there is no way I'm going to finish at least the first two. Why? The first one is the Oktoberfest 60 hour challenge - ride my bike 60 hours between October 20th and November 10th. Well, that's like double the normal hours I ride in a week - and I'm in recovery mode! But recovery mode has gotten me nearly 20 hours of riding with 12 days left. So I might get up to 50% of goal, maybe a little more. No huge, long sufferfest rides though - not that crazy. The other one I'm not going to get will be the Lace 'em Up challenge to run 50 miles this week. And while I used to run that much and more quite regularly, the most I've run in a week this year has been about 20. Again, I'm not going to force myself to run twice as much as I've been running - asking for injuries. So if I'm lucky, I might get 50% of that challenge, maybe a little more. Not going to push it. The third challenge isn't until December and it happens to fall on a weekend that I'm running my half marathon. So I have a chance to finish that one - will let you know!

Oct 27, 2012

Happiness is...

Life's not complicated - we just choose to make is crazy at times. But sometimes, getting back to reality and simplicity is what makes things right. For me, that moment of simple joy came riding alone at Lake Pueblo State Park after work. Just me, my bike, the brisk air and the setting sun. No distractions for miles, no pressure to ride hard and the ability to ride for as long as I chose (or as long as I told Nick I was going to ride...) It was a perfect closing to a crazy day at work.

On that ride, happiness was...
- Listening to the sound of shale under my tires as I climbed up Rock Canyon
- Riding under the chilly sun while Pikes Peak was surrounded by clouds and snow.
- The long shadow of a rider silhouetted alone against the edge of the cliffs.

Juniper trees under the setting sun -
iPhone photos without glasses never quite look right...

Exhilaration was
- Dropping into the canyons on the east side of the park, knowing I could ride whatever trail I wanted.
- The bracing cool of the winter chill as I descended.
- Seeing my breath when I stopped, but still warm from the climbs.
- Being the only person out on the trails at that time.

Satisfaction was...
- Cleaning the Skull Canyon climb for the first time, and feeling comfortable while doing it.
- Finishing the ride as the sun set, but being prepared to ride into the darkness.
- Bundling up for the cold and getting in a perfect ride instead of surrendering to the trainer.

Ready for night - but finished under the setting sun 

Peace was...
- Riding as the sun set over the mountains and the moon rose from the eastern plains
- Watching a Golden Eagle lazily soaring over the trails.
- The silence of a solo ride.

The moon rising over the cliffs above Duke Trail


Oct 26, 2012

Week three -Back to business

One last week of playing around. We took advantage of the nice weather to get some fun and easy rides in the canyon, as well as some exploring up North. Some of those rides will be off limits when the snow comes fo good, so was nice to be able to sneak them in. All north side of the canyon on shaded slopes and I don't like riding on ice that much! Everything has been pretty chill - no hard workouts on the bike just yet. I have noticed I need to ride more techy stuff again - I was a little sloppy in spots. With yhe exception of a few events, the trails I've been racing on haven't been that hard. Long and fast yes - but not really hard. So I'm a little skittish on the fun, narrow trails Nick favors.


But it's time to get back to business. At least on the running side! After not really running far or fast all summer, I decided the smartest plan for the rest of my off season would be to train for the Rock Canyon Half Marathon on December 2nd. I've done that race a few times - in nice weather and the blizzard like conditions of last year.It's a fun course - a mix of trail and road - and just a nice low key race. So why not run again this year? Will I be fast? Who knows. Speed is relative. But I have a few weeks to become a runner again and Coach Adam was more then eager to write up the training plan. So now it's time to pick up the pace and have a different kind of fun.

Oct 25, 2012

Beating the weather

It's still nice out right now, but the weather forecast for the next few days is for winter - with snow and really cold temperatures. So Nick and I decided to beat the weather front and do Pipeline yesterday. Speed wasn't the plan - just riding up the road at a comfortable pace and then having some fun on the descent. Because we weren't sure when the cold front was going to move down, we both had our Osprey Talons loaded up with some warm clothes. And food and water for a four plus hour ride.

We rode really easy up Gold Camp. Nick was really tired from a hard night ride the night before and I wasn't interested in gunning it at all. I was taking advantage of the relaxed pace to look around, do some sight-seeing and really appreciate the ride. Normally, I'm nose to the bars, tongue hanging out, trying to keep up with Nick. It also wasn't warm out at all - the sun was brilliant and the sky blue, but there was no warmth to the rays. And there was a looming mountain of clouds to the north over the Black Forest. I wasn't cold with just my lightweight arm warmers on for the climb, but I wasn't toasty either. And when Nick stopped to put his knee warmers and arm warmers and booties on, I went for the booties as well. Creek water is pretty chilly this time of year, even with wool socks on... It took us a few minutes longer then normal to make the climb, but I was raring to go when we hit the single track. A good feeling - wanting to ride fast and hard downhill instead of dreading it because I'm tired.

We took the fun way to Frosties Park, and stopped for a short snack and to bundle up before the descent. This time, I'd carried the can of tea up the hill (no coke - didn't have any in the house) and Nick and I split it before heading down. We were planning on riding Pipeline - its a more fun descent and Nick likes that trail better. With him on his hard tail, I was able to stay a little closer then the last time we'd ridden Pipeline. That meant I could see the lines he was taking through some of the rocks that I usually walk. As a result, I was able to ride more of the trail this time, even making all the little climbs up from the creeks. Riding Pipeline in the middle of the week is the best thing - we saw three other people the entire time, so we were able to ride fast and have fun. Riding easy on the climb really made a difference for me being able go hard on the descent and not just hang on.

We did beat the weather home. A huge cloud covered the sun just as we were dropping down Cheyenne Road and it started raining later that night. Even if we get snow tonight, we still got one last hurrah on some fun trails!

Oct 23, 2012

Squirrel Wars

There's a turf war going on in our back yard. It's been pretty mellow for the first few weeks, but things are starting to escalate. I'm starting to worry about walking beside the fence - I don't want to end up in the middle of a battle! And all the fighting is about some - well a whole tree full - of apples.

There's a huge apple tree in our neighbor's back yard. The branches are full with small apples - full to the point of breaking. And I know why all the squirrels in our area are fat... They are fighting over the apples big time. I've seen a few scrawnier squirrels run out of the tree, still clutching an apple in their mouth. The bigger critters are guarding the apples very carefully. And when they're not fighting, they are harvesting. The squirrels are constantly picking the best apples and tossing them to the ground. Or the metal roof of the shed below the tree. The apples land with a huge thunk that sounds like someone is throwing rocks at the house. We got up and looked around the first few times we heard the apples falling. Now we just know better.

But the war is heating up - last night, there was a fight right outside our window. I'm not sure what was fighting, but it was loud and it was in the apple tree. I haven't gotten outside to look if there's any fur or anything near the tree. I'm not sure I want to know - the squealing sounding like something being attacked. And that's why I'm a little concerned about walking next to fence! I don't want one of those squirrels to take offence that I'm there and decide that the turf war needs to extend to humans.

We've also had a few other animal encounters because of the apple tree - but these are animals the squire ls aren't going to take on. There is at least one - but we think two - yearling bears that are feasting on the apples already on the ground. Nick and I saw one of them a few weeks ago, right in the middle of our neighbor's yard, just munching away. Nick scared him off with the air horn so we could walk to the car... And two days ago, a really fat buck decided he needed to take a nap - right in the middle of our front yard! I kinda worry more about the deer then the bear. The deer should be scared of us and could cause some serious damage with those hooves and antlers. The bear just laughs and ambles away when he sees us.

Oct 22, 2012

Catamount

Time for some exploring. Wanting a few hours on the bike, but not wanting to climb up Gold Camp Road again or deal with the crowds in Palmer Park, we decided to head up to Woodland Park. Nick had been staring at the Pikes Peak Atlas and there were some trail around the Catamount Reservoirs that we could access pretty easily. We'd ridden a few of them before, but had taken the toll road to get up there. It was time to see if we could get at those trails via a different route.

Ring the Peak  trail - riding and having fun
We started with a long climb up to the Ring the Peak trail, but stayed on the Catamount trails for a while. I don't remember the name, but it was a lolly-pop type trail with a fun little loop at the very end. Nothing about the trails were technical at all - the loop trail was fairly wide, but with some steep climbs. We did a little exploring off the beaten track, but every time the trail turned straight uphill, we turned around. It was a day for fun and easy riding, not lots of climbing! The trail that dropped into the North Slope Rec area was fun - a narrow path along the contours of the mountain, dodging in and out of aspen and pine groves. Nothing hard, just fun, easy riding.
Found a rock and decided to play on it for a bit
When we reached the North Slope Rec area, the gate between Catamount and the road was closed with a small sign saying "North Slope Rec area is closed between Oct 1 and May 1" Huh? That wasn't cool - especially since the first portal into the north slope area had a nice entrance around the gate. We hopped the gate and kept riding, already plotting what stories we'd tell the rangers if needed. But on the small section of Ring the Peak, we met two other mountain bikers and some hikers. Yeah, really seemed like the trails were closed. Onto Mule Deer trail along the reservoirs edge and we could see fishermen and kayakers playing in the wonderful weather. Two runners and four hikers later, we decided that the trails really weren't closed at all. And when we popped out on the dam and the ranger drove by and waved, we stopped worrying about getting busted.
One huge hill from the water's edge to the ridgeline

Again, the trails in the North Slope Rec area were fun - perfect for the kind of riding we wanted that day. But there wasn't anything challenging at all - just the undulating fun along the water's edge. Up and down, around the fingers, over a few little rocks - low key and chill riding. It was a great day to be out and a perfect spin under the shadow of Pikes Peak.

Oct 19, 2012

A taste of winter

Last weekend, Nick and I got to spend some time up in Buffalo Creek and it was a super fun time. We were going up for a group ride and Mexican potluck on Sunday and decided to make a weekend of it. We hadn't ridden in Buff Creek at all this year, so I was really looking forward to some hours on the trail.

Saturday, we drove up the pass with clouds hanging heavy on the mountains and draped across the slopes of Pikes Peak. The moisture filled the air with the occasional flake of snow drifting down amid the mist and rain. Perfect riding weather. And the trails at Buffalo Creek would be in awesome shape, thanks to the rain. We just needed to dig out all the winter gear that had been hidden since March! I could tell we hadn't ridden in that kind of conditions for a while, we both over dressed and had to stop and take jackets and hats off pretty quickly after we started riding.

We had no agenda when we started - just ride up to the CT and pick a direction. Ended up going west, looking for some of the fun descents and trying to avoid the long climbs for a bit. Nick reminded me of one of the rock garden sections that I'd wiped out on last time we'd ridden there. I got close enough to be able to follow his line this time around and was able to clean it. Wasn't pretty, but for the first time being able to ride it, I'll take it. I really like riding in Buff Creek - it's fast and flowy with nothing super scary (except for Black Jack - which I haven't ever seen). The climbs are mostly long and gradual with a few steep sections to keep you honest. And there's a lot of new trails. We took the CT over to Red Mountain trail, which cut between to road to get to GasHouse Gulch Trail. I'd never ridden it before, and it was fun. Then down GasHouse to the Morris Creek climb. We thought about calling it a day, but Nick wanted to find Nice Kitty (he kept calling it "Hello Kitty"). So back down we went on Shinglemill. A little riding around and we spotted the almost hidden bridge that lead to Nice Kitty. Then forty minutes of climbing. Wow - but a good, steady climb - some sections to rest, some rock gardens and a few really steep sections. By the time we reached the top, I was ready to head back to the camper!

We rode during the prettiest part of the day. The low clouds kept rolling in and out of the mountains like waves, each cloud bringing a layer of mist with it. The aspens gleamed with color, bright beacons of gold amid the green and browns. I think the low light really highlighted the strong colors of the trees - no competition from the sun. Nick happened to be wearing a yellow jersey with red shorts and an orange Osprey pack - he fit right in among the trees! Despite the number of riders out enjoying the single track, it was also so quiet. The clouds absorbed all the ruckus of life, the rain kept the trails nice and tight and the crisp air highlighted the fun of riding.

Oct 16, 2012

The problem with headphones

I've never been one to run (or ride) with music. Maybe inside while on the trainer or treadmill, but even then, I still end up taking it off midway so I can focus on the workout. I don't like the distraction from how I am feeling and responding to the workout. And everyone has stories about headphone clad runners, hikers, and cyclists. No need to rehash the most annoying aspects of headphone use. No, the problem with headphones is the absence of experience - more in tune with the tunes then anything else.

With music blaring, you miss the little things. The soft hooting of an owl in the tree above the trail. The mournful "whowhoo" from a hidden figure calling to the fading stars or other nighttime creatures. I looked up in the tree as I ran underneath - but could not find the owl. In the predawn gloom, it was perfectly camaflauged from view.

Or the soft rustle of a buck as he steps from behind the scrub oak. He paused, antlers framed against the periwinkle dawn. A full rack, enough to attract the attention of the ladies. Then silently, he turned and vanished into the trees. I will see him again - he frequents the fields and yards near Bear Creek.

Also missed while wearing headphone - the yipping of the resident coyotes of Bear Creek. There are a few dens and I have seen the pups this year. I would have missed them if I had been engrossed in song and not the music of the wild. I have to admit - the sounds of the coyote can be nerve wracking when running alone.

And finally, the whomphing snort of a bear searching for food. I head and smelled him - and took a different way out of the neighborhood. The crash a few minutes later indicated he had found a snack. Not a healthy snack, but.... All to tempting to a hungry bear.

All this in one run. Some people migbt be tempted to go on about how the headphones break the mind body connection so vital to pure running and performance. And while that's true and another reason I don't wear headphones, it's not the whole picture. Simply put, while out in the middle if the woods or even just the open field of Bear Creek, you are surrounded by nature and all those amazing experiences waiting. Step away from the technology and revel in the sounds of the world. Or simply the sounds of silence.

Oct 15, 2012

Being in the moment

Sometimes we get caught up in the race, the lives of everyone else and trying to match or beat them. We start thinking that life is about the physical objects cluttering up the world. We forget that the experiences are where the great stories come from. In order to find the hidden gems and craft the stories worth sharing, we have to leave the race behind. I am as guilty as everyone else, babbling about meaningless happenings in 140 characters or less. Its hard to hear the music and words of the journey when I'm not focused. But it's out there, echoing along lonely roads, scenic trails - hidden in the trees, the rocks and rippling down the rivers.

This last weekend made me realize that its time to reopen my eyes and become in tune with the experiences echoing in the wind gusts, the stories rustling in the waves of grass and aspens and the rhythmic tapping if rain on the ground. It's time to start listening better, to learn from the joy and experiences of others. Not the mindless details reported online, but the depth behind those tiny comments. Only then will the stories I tell really be relevant. It's not just the triumphs on the trail that paint a picture, but the lonely hours training in silence. Or the fun rides with friends that have no agenda besides just enjoying the moment. Understanding and welcoming it all will broaden my skills - both on the bike and for my writing. So while having fun with my goof off weeks, it's also a good time to practice being in the moment.

Oct 12, 2012

Goof off - week two

I can tell these goof off, recovery weeks are much needed. Almost done with my second week of just doing what I want and it still isn't much. I've gotten up early to swim, but not a lot. I've really tried to avoid getting up before the sun rises - even on days I am working. I am not feeling like I need to get up and hit the road bright and early - sleeping in sounds much better right now. Haven't done a single long or hard workout and I am not planning any of the above!

The recovery now will reap benefits next year. I haven't really done an off season before - never really wanted to. I would just bounce from Tri training to run training to bike workouts. This year, I want the break. I had a fun but easy ride yesterday, but the motivation to go out and suffer isn't there. That tells me I really need the time off. When I start back up with hard workouts, I want to be giddy to ride and excited to work hard. Until then - all fun, all easy. And I am sticking too it - for at least a few more weeks!

Oct 8, 2012

Riding from the Ghosts of Palmer Park - 24 Hrs of COS

Like everyone else toeing the line for the 2012 24 Hours of Colorado Springs, Nick and I were hoping for a win and to be able to pull on a national champions jersey at the end of the race. But we had some very stiff competition and knew starting the race it would be a long shot to be able to win. Races aren't won on paper, however, so we still gave it everything we had. All it takes is a mechanical or light failure or just plain bonking to turn a 24 hour race upside down. Conceding before the race starts isn't how Nick and I work, so we decided to just stay with our plan, ride our own race for 24 hours and let the podium take shape at noon the next day. If we were smart and lucky, we might have a good chance. If not, then we would continue racing hard for the next step on the podium. Our race ended up being between second and third in the Co-Ed Duo and for the third place overall duo.

Hawaiian Muffins

Hey, it's Kona week! And even though I'm not racing tris on the road that much anymore (my poor tri bike hasn't been ridden outside since 2010) I still think about the Big Island and how much fun I had over there. I was lucky enough to race Kona in 2008 - and while my time was nothing spectacular (being sick will do that to you) the whole experience of being out there was a lot of fun. So this morning, I decided to make some muffins in honor of Kona week and the racers who will pay homage to Madame Pele this Saturday. The melding of pineapple, macadamia nuts and coconut worked perfectly. And since we're athletes, I also used some flax seed and oats for whole grains, energy and omega-3s.

Hawaiian Muffins
Pre-heat oven to 375 and grease or line muffin tins. Again, I have my bar pans that make perfect on-the-road, jersey pocket snacks.
In lager bowl, combine:
- 1 c gluten free flour
- 1/4 c ground flax seed
- 1/4 c gluten free oats
- 1/2 c millet flour (if you don't have millet flour, feel free to substitute another kind of gluten free flour)
- 1/4 c buckwheat flour
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 c brown sugar

In separate bowl, combine:
- 1 egg
- 3/4 c milk
- 1/4 c canola oil
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 c pineapple juice
- 3/4 c crushed pineapple

Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir gently.
Fold in:
- 1/2 shredded coconut
- 1/2 chopped macadamia nuts

Fill muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. Makes 16 muffin bars or 12 large muffins.

Oct 6, 2012

2013 Programmable Diablo and Joystick Test

AS IN THE PRIOR TEST I PUBLISHED OF EXPOSURE LIGHT SYSTEMS, THEY EXCEEDED THE ADVERTISED BURN TIME. THE REASON FOR THIS TEST IS THESE NEW MODELS ARE PART OF EXPOSURE LIGHTS 2013 LINEUP (PROGRAMMABLE AND BRIGHTER THIS YEAR AS WELL AS ACCELEROMETERS IN A FEW SYSTEMS FOR HANDS FREE POWERING DOWN AND UP TO CONSERVE YOUR BURN TIME - I DO NOT HAVE ANY OF THE ACCELED ONES  -- YET). THEY ARE PROGRAMMABLE (YOU CAN CHOOSE A PRESET PROGRAM USING THE ON OFF SWITCH AND ONCE A PROGRAM IS SELECTED IT STAYS IN THAT PROGRAM UNLESS YOU CHOOSE TO CHANGE IT - SOME PICS BELOW ELABORATE ON YOUR CHOICES AND THERE ARE VIDEOS ON THE EXPOSURE WEB SITE  WWW.EXPOSURELIGHTS.COM).

THERE IS A PDF ATTACHED AT BOTTOM OF THIS POST WITH THE VERBIAGE CONTAINED IN THIS POST AS WELL AS THE CHART WITH THE TEST RESULTS IN FULL.

THE TEST SET IN BLUE WAS IN THE HIGHEST PROGRAM AND HIGHEST SETTING. JUST CHECK THAT THE CELLS ARE 100% AND THEY WERE AS THE DIABLOS WENT THEIR HOUR ON HIGH, SWITCHED TO MEDIUM FOR 10 MINUTES, AND ANOTHER 5 MINUTES ON LOW. THE JOYSTICK IS ROCKING LIGHT AT 3 OUNCES AND WENT 2:25 ON HIGH AT 400 LUMENS.

NOW THE REAL REASON FOR THE TEST WAS TO SEE HOW LONG THE JOYSTICK WOULD LAST. MY ULTERIOR MOTIVE OR QUESTION HERE IS THE JOYSTICK AN OPTION FOR BIKE PACKING. THE SHORT ANSWER IS YES. THE LONG ANSWER IS: I CHOSE PROGRAM 8 WITCH ELIMINATES THE HIGH SETTING SO WHEN YOU TURN IT ON YOU DON'T WASTE ANY EXTRA ENERGY ON HIGH. I RAN IT IN PROGRAM 8 AND THE MEDIUM SETTING (THE HIGHEST SETTING IN THAT PROGRAM). IT BURNED FOR 11:15 THEN ANOTHER 60 MINUTES ON THE LOW SETTING. LETS SAY YOUR BIKE PACK FOR 5 DAYS AND YOU WANT TO BE MOVING AN HOUR ON EACH END OF THE DAY IN THE DARK AND HAVE SOME LIGHT FOR IN CAMP SET UP AND TEAR DOWN. THE JOYSTICK WOULD GIVE YOU THAT IN A RECHARGEABLE FORMAT. BETTER YET ONE ON YOUR HEAD AND ONE ON THE BARS AND YOU COULD HIKE-A-BIKE ANYTHING IN THE 24 HOUR SETTING WITH THE HEAD ONLY. CHOOSE A HIGHER OUTPUT PROGRAM FOR THE BAR LIGHT AND YOU COULD ROLL ALONG. ALBEIT NOT RACE PACE BUT WE ARE TALKING LOADED DOWN BIKE PACKING HERE. BETTER YET COLORADO TRAIL BIKE PACKING ON GNARLY TRAILS.

ADVANTAGES OF A LIGHT LIKE THE JOYSTICK OVER LETS SAY A TYPICAL HEAD LAMP ( PETZEL TIKKA PLUS 2 - SPECS BELOW) ARE: MOST IMPORTANTLY THE JOYSTICK MOUNTS TO YOUR HELMET AND YOUR BIKE SO YOU CAN RIDE WITH THEM. I HAVE RIDDEN AT NIGHT A FEW TIMES WITH A CAMP LIGHT ON MY HEAD AND MY HELMET ON SO POORLY THAT I SHOULD HAVE JUST NOT HAD IT ON. THE JOY STICK IN ITS 24 HOUR SETTING WAS APPROXIMATELY THE SAME LIGHT OUTPUT AS MY PETZEL. YOU CAN CHOOSE A MUCH GREATER RANGE OF BURN TIMES. DOWN POUR PROOF. YOU CAN RECHARGE.  LAST BUT NOT LEAST YOU CAN CHOOSE A LOWER BURN TIME AND THUS A HIGHER LIGHT OUTPUT MODE FOR 20 OR 30 MINUTES AND RAGE THAT FUN DESCENT - YOU CANT DO THAT WITH MY CAMP LIGHT.  DISADVANTAGES: I CAN ONLY THINK OF ONE. YOU CANNOT PURCHASE BATTERIES ALONG THE TRAIL FOR YOUR JOYSTICK. HOWEVER WITH THE LENGTH OF BURN TIME YOU MAY NOT EVER NEED TO. IF YOU ARE BIKE PACKING YOU SHOULD SAVE YOUR CAMP LIGHT AS AN EMERGENCY BACK UP LIGHT OR BETTER YET MAIL YOURSELF A PIGGY BACK BATTERY.

PETZEL TIKKA PLUS 2 SPECS ARE: 2.6 OUNCES, 40 LUMENS ON HIGH, 3X AAA BATTERIES, BURN TIME ABOUT 20 HOURS ON HIGH, AND WATER RESISTANT.

DIABLO AT LEFT WEIGHING IN AT 4 OUNCES
CHAPSTICK FOR SIZE REFERENCE WEIGHS .5 OUNCE
JOYSTICK AT RIGHT WEIGHS 3 OUNCES

THE ABOVE CHART ARE THE PROGRAMS THESE TWO LIGHTS HAVE AVAILABLE. 

(Nick wrote this - sorry about the all caps)

There is a downloadable PDF with all the data on my website - very bottom of the page.
File name is EXP--2012-09-20-1.pdf

Oct 5, 2012

Sand Creek Sports - Rides for all Riders

It has been so much fun racing in the Sand Creek Sports Jersey and sharing my stories about preparing for and racing the Ascent Cycling Series. It was also a honor to be chosen as a member of the Sand Creek - Pikes Peak Sports team. Cameron and I both took the series and he pretty much demolished every race he entered, including the finale at Palmer Park. I had to skip that last Sand Creek race - the ProCycling challenge. The mind was willing but I needed the day off.

Cameron has already written beautifully about the purity of racing the local Sand Creek events, the simplicity in showing up to well known trails, tying a number on, then proceeding to kick someone's tail for 60 minutes. Even if it was just my tail I was kicking! Cam also touched on the great environment that welcomed both new riders and the seasoned pros. We've all seen the youngsters on the starting line and getting faster and more skilled every year. It's been awesome to watch. So I can't add anything new to what Cam has alreadh discussed. Except for this - juniors are the future of the sport and Sand Creek events provide excellent opportunities to learn racing. But there is another wah that Sand Creek Sports has worked to make mountain biking accessible to everyone.

Take one 60 year old woman and get her a decent mountain bike to ride jeep roads on. Gradually introduce her to double track and then easier single track. Encourage her to keep riding as much as she can and to try new things. Take a leap four years inti the future to 2012 and she's racing that mountain bike in the Ascent Cycling Series. She did all the races ar Bear Creek Terrace and found a new challenge and a new thrill on the single track trails. Everytime she made a new switch back or rode over a rock garden was cause for celebration. And while she never raced at Palmer Park, she had so much fun at the Wednesday night races. A tribute to how well Andy and his team planned the courses. I could not imagine her racing at the classic ski courses. She would have walked both up and down and would never have wanted to ride her bike again. Not at the Ascent Cycling races. She had a huge grin on her face after every race. They were a challenge but not overwhelming. She started with other riders of her ability and was treated to a safe event. And when she was finished, she got to watch the pros blitzing the exact same course. One of the best learning opportunitites avalible to a new rider.

So from developing the next generation of speedy Colorado mountain bikers to providing a safe venue for an introduction to fat tire fun, Sand Creek Sports has accomplished both. It's been a journey this year and I have to thank everyone for tolerating my ramblings. Hopefully next year will be even better and I will be along for the ride!

Oct 2, 2012

Season's End

Wow. It's been a long season. We started racing back in February at 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo and kept rolling thru until last weekend at the 24 Hours of Colorado Springs. In between came 24 Hours in the Enchanted Forest and 24 Hours in the Sage. Nick and I bookended two wins with two second place rides in our 24 hour adventures. We faced some very strong teams and the usual assortment of demons during the day long races. We also got our self supported style of racing dialed. Filling in the weekends between 24 hour races came the Rocky Mountain Endurance Series. Five races over 60 miles in locals from Pueblo to Elbert to Breckenridge. I has a solid series, with two wins, one second, and two thirds in the Women's Open class. I also took the series overall. Nivk raced the half marathon series and took two seconds and three thirds on his way to win the Single Speed class.

Closer to home - the Ascent Cycling Series held by Sand Creek Sports. Local fun and an hour of solid pain defined these five races. Three at Bear Creek Terrace and two at Palmer Park. I was racing in the Sand Creek Sports jersey and writing about the events for Pikes Peak Sports. All of them, hard racing against all my riding partners. Also local fun, but on the road bike, the Wednesday Night TT series up 26th Street and Cheyenne Canyon. A new pr for both those climbs. So it's been a long trip to this point.

And what point are we at? Time to rest, time to goof off, sleep in and recover. No scheduled training, just doing what feels right and what the weather dictates. Snowstorm and cold weather? I think I'll swim or trail run! Perfectly sunny afternoon? Let's hit the trails for a mountain bike ride! Doesn't matter what I do as long as I have fun doing it and let my body recover from a long season. This is gonna be fun - I usually don't take much of an off season break!

Oct 1, 2012

24 Hours of COS

Duo Mixed Podium - Sonya Looney and Jon Davis 1st, Me and Nick 2nd, Karen Borgstedt and Bill Clinesmith 3rd
Photo Tim Bergsten
The USA Cycling 24 Hour Mountain Bike National Championships returned to Colorado Springs and Palmer Park this past weekend and there was some fast racing. Nick and I were hoping to finish out the season with a new jersey, but the super strong duo of Jonathon Davis and Sonya Looney rode away from the rest of the competition on the first lap and kept adding to that lead through the night. They finished with a solid 20 laps before noon. Nick and I took second, squeaking in that 19th lap just before the noon deadline. Bill Clinesmith and Karen Borgstedt rounded out the top three in Duo-Open with 16 laps.

With all the logistics of hosting a race dead smack in the middle of town, Tim Scott did a fantastic job. He and his staff were out on a near daily basis two weeks before the race, attempting to keep some flagging up and the course mostly marked. One of the biggest hassles of 24 hour racing - setting up pit - was so much easier thanks to the city allowing us to set up and camp at the park Friday night. The start -finish line was really well set up, allowing solo to just roll through and the teams a nice easy in-out exchange. Not having to fumble with dimming or turning out lights with numb hands was also nice. All the volunteers he had out on course were great - enthusiastic despite the cold and damp hours of the night. I looked forward to the cheers from the Ascent Cycling Aid Station every lap.

I don't ride much in Palmer Park because it's a bit of a drive and very popular for hikers, horseback riders and other users. It's hard to get going fast when there's so many blind corners and you don't want to be "that mountain biker." When I do ride there, it's mostly slower, for fun or technical practice, or at night with the women. Tim managed to get the city to shut down the entire park for the race, so we were able to fly. I have never been able to ride some of those sections of trail so fast before. It was so much fun to come flying down  Palmer Point and KinniKinnik trails at top speed, floating off the rocks and banking the corners without having to worry about surprising a hiker or rider. Every mountain biker in Colorado Springs should be drooling over this race next year for that reason alone - riding some of the best single track in Palmer Park at top speed. Get your teams together now for next year!

I'll get the full race report posted soon.