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Showing posts from October, 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 w…

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. W…

Happiness is...

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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.


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 …

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 f…

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…

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 hous…

Catamount

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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.

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 dro…

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, looki…

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 fu…

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 mi…

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 i…

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

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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 h…

2013 Programmable Diablo and Joystick Test

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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 ANO…

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…

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 de…

24 Hours of COS

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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 pa…