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Showing posts from February, 2013

Making lemonade

You don't know what you've got till its gone. Truer words were never spoken. We cursed the Turtle - the slow speeds, the door that wouldn't lock anymore, the new creak the developed every trip. Every time we loaded up our gear, we hoped for the best - reaching our destination! Most of the time we did - but not without stress and drama and Nick spending lots of times fixing crap. Or the engine was running so hot the interiore of the RV reaxhed over 100 degrees. Nick frequently drove with his left foot in a boot and his right foot in a sandle because of the heat from the engine and the cold air leaking in. But the conveience of the home on wheels outweighed it all. We could drive to the campsite and unload everything and just be comfortable. We had a quiet, warm and dry place to sleep. A private bathroom (so important!) And the ablility to cook. All of it worth the hassles.

We were so lucky this trip. Doesn't sound like luck to have our RV die but... Out of all the place…

Snow!

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We left Tucson just as the snow was moving in and got home to more snow! Yes, I was laughing when I saw the blizzard warnings for Mt Lemmon and higher elevations in Tucson. I did see some of the snow photos on Facebook after we got home and I wasn't laughing anymore. They got a lot of snow down there! Luckily - or so I thought - we'd missed it all. But when we got home, there were several inches on the ground and more in the forecast. Good thing I had another recovery week scheduled...

With winter storm warnings scrolling and not feeling like spending time in the garage just yet, Nick and I decided it was time for a hike. We loaded up the Osprey Packs with snowshoes and headed for the hills. Nick's idea of hiking is more like bushwacking, so nearly four hours later, we finally found ourselves back at the car. A good way to spend a snowy, cold day. Lots of pictures....







The Learning Curve of 24 Hrs in the Old Pueblo, 2013

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Wow! What a race this year. It was close between the top five teams until midnight, then an even tighter duel for second as noon approached. As expected, Nat Ross and Rebecca Rusch began building a lead quickly. While they may have looked back a few times, it was a fifty minute lead as they finished with 20 laps at 12:17:05. Our race for second was much closer. After moving up from fourth and prying open the narrowest of gaps, we found ourselves in a seven hour race and evenly matched. I think it was our experience with 24 hour racing that allowed us to eke out the narrowest of margins over Kevin and Beth Utley. Cograts to all the Co-Ed Duo teams (29 started this year! Huge field for Coed Duo.) The top five teams..... The King and Queen of Pain - Nat Ross & Rebbeca Rusch - 20 laps, 12:17:05 Learning Curve - Nick and I - 20 laps, 1:02:55 That's MR and MRS Utley to You! - Kevin & Beth Utley - 20 laps, 1:04:07 Spidey Buzz - Chris Alstrin & Laura Anderson - 19 laps, 12:46…

The Death of the Turtle

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We knew the Turtle was having issues. From the fan clutch locking up to a loose spark plug wire and worn points, the engine was really giving us fits the whole trip. (I say us, but Nick was the one who really had to deal with it - crawling under the engine on the rocks at the RV park or trying to get something just right while jammed between the seats and the engine.) He had spent most of the four days we'd been down in Tucson trying to get it running right and nothing was working. He would make one adjustment and it would be better for a while, then something else would act up.Thursday morning, he made some last ditch adjustments to the timing on the distributor while I was finishing up food shopping. Our hope at that time was to just make it up to 24 Hour Town, race, and deal with it after the race.

Heading North on Houghton Rd and things looked promising. The engine sounded better, we had a little more power and we were starting to get hopeful again. Then we hit the hill right …

2013 24 Hrs in the OP

Another year, another fun time in the desert. This was a great race this year - a nail biter till the end. The King and Queen of pain defended their title again, finishing 20 laps about 12:17. It was a close race for second with several lead changes through out the day - at one point only 2 seconds separated second and third! Nick and I battled back from a flat tire to clime second -also completing 20 laps at 1:02. Once again the bridesmaids (third year in a row!) Beth and Kevin Utley made us work - the final gap was only two minutes after 24 (25 really) hours of racing. They came in at 1.04 with 20 laps. Like I said - some really fast racing this year in the Co-Ed Duo. The top three teams all did 20 laps, with 4th and 5th doing 19 and 18 laps. The level of racing has risen so much in the last five years. The first year Nick and I did this race - we got fourth. The number of laps we did then would only have placed us 8th this year! It's awesome to see the growth.

I will get a fu…

Time for the rematch!

For the last four years, Nick and I have been taking a winter pilgrimage to sunny Arizona for the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo. Each year, we've done better and gotten more dialed at the insanity of duo 24 hour racing. The first year - 2009 - we surprised ourselves and placed 4th, finishing 16 laps. Nick and I each did eight laps that year. In 2010, we moved up one more step to third with 18 laps. Nick did 10 laps and I did 8 laps. 2011 took us to second, knocking out 18 laps again under some pretty challenging conditions, with each of us riding 9 laps. Heading into 2012, we were hoping to finally get the top step, but facing a killer duo of Rebecca Rusch and Nate Ross, it was another second. But with a solid 19 laps under our tires, we were happy with that second. So what will 2013 bring?

For the first time, we get to face the exact same team in the battle of the Co-Ed duos. Previously, the winning team was different each year. Not this time. The King and Queen of Pain (Nate and Re…

Into Saguaro

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After dealing with the Turtle all morning, it was finally time to ride. We decided to head someplace new this time - the Arizona Trail. We had found one trail head on our explorations yesterday and Nick was eager to see where it went. That and getting out of camp would let use see if the repairs had helped the way the Turtle was acting. (For the record, they hadn't.) we got to the parking lot off Pistol Hill road and took a deep breath. Time to ride our bikes and get away from the stress of a malfunctioning Turtle! We opted to head north, knowing we would hit Saguaro National Park in about four miles. We planned on turning around at the boundary, then going south for a while. At least long enough to get the time we wanted to ride in.


Well, north we headed, on a fun, twisting chunk of single track. Cactus all around, with the trail darting and diving around among the prickly pears and barrel cacti. Absolutely nothing hard, but it was fun to be out, in shorts finally, enjoying the…

Dreaming of a Trouble Free Turtle.

A home on wheels is good if it actually goes some where. It seems that every time we think about getting away the Turtle acts up! I love the cozy bed, warm furnace and fresh meals everyday but Nick having to crawl under there every other hour gets a little tiring. It's a charming beast and gets plenty of compliments (?) every where we camp. "Its so cute!" "How old is that thing?" Things like that. And no one cane mistake our camper for another team at a 24 hour race. Yes, the Turtle is great and we've been super lucky with it so far. But....

We're thinking its time for an upgrade. Something we would have done already if not for the slight issue of money. It takes a bunch of that stuff to get into a really nice setup. And that's something we just don't have right now. Every trip, we sit steaming in the cab, talking about what we want to upgrade to. A nicer, newer Class C that actually runs well and isn't older then us? Or maybe a trailer or f…

Tucson Bound

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Every trip has a theme and this was no different getting to Tuscon. Wind, noise and slow. Dealing with one is hard - two headache inducing. All three? Plus a turtle that is acting up? Stressful beyond compare.

Just south of Las Vegas NM - the engine starts acting up. The fan will not disengage and is stuck running. It sounds like a jet engine in the cab and our already slow pace becomes a crawl. We ended up taking side roads as much as we could since 40 was our top speed. That meant for some scenic driving and a very quiet first night on the road. But it also added to our stress on the second night. We were on the really quiet roads between Socorro, Reserve and Safford, AZ. The engine was dragging, using more fuel then normal. And the gas stations in the little towns we passed were all closed. We turn off the "main road" onto NM 78 and Nick suddenly asks "how much further?" Its about 70 miles to the next big town on the map. Uh oh - we are really running low on fue…

at the end of the turquoise trail

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This time, when we rolled thru ABQ, we were prepared with some trailheads that offered some promising single track. We had taken hwy 14 down from Santa Fe, eliminating the eastward backtrack on I-40. And with the way the Turtle was acting, staying off the interstate was a good idea. Just south of 40, we found a ranger station for the Cibola national forest. Perfect! We could stop in, get a map and some info then be ready to ride! Try again - closed. Why would a ranger station need to be open kn a Saturday when people might actually stop in looking for some help? Oh well.

So we stopped at the first trail head we came to. With no map and really no idea lot where we were going, we opted for a quick out and back ride. Just enough to loosen up the legs before a full day of sitting. The trail we found (coyote canyon - I think) was a multiuse bike/motorbike trail. Not quite double track but not quite single track. It meandered up and across a dry creekbed - mostly smooth but with a few littl…

Panic, er Rest Time

Ack! It's that time again. After two months of hard workouts on the bike with a few well needed rest days, the expected happened. I couldn't finish the scheduled workout. I had all the best intentions when I started the workout, but knew how fatigued I was on the weekend rides. I'd already dicussed matters with Coach Adam so was prepared to call it early. It's just disheartening when I start a workout knowing I might not finish. The first set went well - numbers where I wanted them to be. Then the second set. And while it started well, things went down hill in a hurry and I knew I was done. Ugh. I felt like I had done twice as much as I had and was sorely disappointed. I wanted to end the training cycle on a good note.

I've only called workouts a few times in the past so I'm really not worried. Now is the time where less is more and resting means getting sharper and giddy to ride. It's just the mental uncertainty for the rest of the season. If I'm suffe…

Legally Illegal

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So, on February 1st, the Manitou Incline finally became legal to climb. Not that trespassing was much of a deterrent to the herd of hikers and fitness enthusiasts that flocked to the fabled railroad ruin on a daily basis... The lure of testing one's self on the steep and uneven staircase was too much to ignore. And the numbers were swelling on a weekly basis during all kinds of weather. Having trained for the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon on Barr Trail many years ago, I was surprised by the cult like devotion some people have for the Incline. Granted, I remembered the actual railroad, so I wasn't as fascinated. I also considered it off limits for many years since it was private property and with posted no trespassing signs. Well, those no trespassing signs are gone and it's perfectly legal to hike up the incline. It only took an act of Congress to complete, as well as cooperation between Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs.

That said, Nick and I will probably continue br…

By the Numbers

I've had the opportunity to use a power meter on my road bike a few times. I borrowed a power tap wheel for a few weeks last winter and have also had access to the computrainers at CTS. I loved the data with the workouts - the neat precise numbers that revealed so much more then heart rate alone. Coach Adam had been "encouraging" me to get my own for my mountain bike for the last few years. I always had a good reason why not - money, getting a new bike, swapping to 29er, and so on. It was only December last year when Nick and I got serious about looking into options for a power meter for my Fate. But just research - Nick was supposed to get his long desired trail bike first. So I was completely surprised when I found a new, fancy rear wheel and hub on my Fate.

So now, when its not 15 degrees out, I can head up to the trails and enjoy single track and sunshine - and still get the real data from all my workouts. I love seeing the numbers (when it's good) but also know…

Reflections on injuries

We take for granted so many things when it comes to riding bikes. "I'll always be able to ride." "I'm never gonna get injured" - that sort of thing. But we might not always be able to ride bike and injuries are part of the game. It's crap shoot every time we strap on helmet (and I hope you are all wearing helmets!) and head out on the roads or trails. When the injury happen, it's always more reassuring to have a grand horror story about an epic wipeout, but the truth is it hurts no matter what. And many times the injuries that derail a season aren't even to the legs. It doesn't matter how careful or defensively you ride - the monster is always waiting to pounce. It might not be this week, this month or this year - but some day in the future, something will happen.

I had my own injury scare this week. I talked about the crash a little already. It was one of this stupid, wrong place, wrong line in the wrong bike on easy trails, how the heck d…