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Showing posts from September, 2013

Maiden Ride

Okay, so I'd actually had the bike for a week before the "Official" maiden ride. But on Thursday, the Stumpjumper was all mine. I could wipe out and scratch the frame and it wouldn't be an issue. I wouldn't be happy about it - but it could happen. So I picked a trail I don't usually ride (like only three times...), invited Alicia and headed into the hills. Palmer trail and Section 16 was calling our names. It was the perfect trail and a perfect night for a ride. A beautiful quiet day on the trail, despite the full parking lot. We saw only four groups of hikers the entire time. It was also a great Colorado fall day, with a crisp chill to the air and brilliant blue skies. The trees aren't quite changing yet , but the greens and almost golds were vibrant thanks to the recent rains. 
Alicia and I climbed up Palmer trail, maintaining a steady pace the entire time. It's a good climb, no super steep sections and nothing super technical. I tried to keep conver…

Bike love

It's rare that I get a chance to test ride a bike. Out of the five mountain bikes I've gotten in the last few years, I've only gotten on one before we bought it - and that was just for a ride around the parking lot. The rest have been leaps of faith - it looks like it will fit based on geometry, so... I've been lucky with the bikes and only one hasn't fit well. I've been adding bikes to my geometry charts as we've gotten them, so we have a pretty good handle on what will and won't fit, and what we will need to do to get it fit. But with the exception of my Fate, it's all been 26ers. Both Nick and I were hesitant about the sizing of the 29ers and full suspension. They all looked like Tonka trucks with the monster wheels smushed into tiny frames. Even my Fate, a HT looks kinda silly. I could see the future though - few bike companies were making 26er every year, especially in the trail categories. I was also stuck because I wanted a full suspension I…

Reflection

I'm not sure what made me think about this, but I started reflecting on everything I've done. Maybe it was reading a thread on Slowtwitch that asked people what races they would do if they didn't have to worry about qualifying, logistics or expenses. And looking over that list, it was "wow - I've done a lot of those races already!" Then I felt a little guilty, because its evident that many people would love to experience even a third of what I've gotten to do. Which makes me feel even guiltier, since I'm not sure I took advantage of what I was able to do. Things were just check marks on the list of things I would do. The history and signifigance of all the events was just a sidenote to me looking for my place. I just assumed I would achieve what wanted, regardless of how crazy it sounded. Most of it I did achieve. Some of it I didn't and and won't at this time. Others I have plenty of time to continue working towards.

But I don't want to …

Bike Packing Fun

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After a week of straight rain and the subsequent cleaning up from the deluge, it was nice to get away from the world, ride up into the mountains and just chill. Not much riding was involved in this trip, but it was still fun and a super quiet weekend. Nick and I rode with some of his cycling buddies - the Palmer Park TBR crew. I think the funniest part was watching how everyone packed their camping gear. It ranged from me, who had Nick to carry everything to Daniel who was using his huge army bag. But the variety of packing and securing bags to bikes worked for everyone and we had an uneventful ride to the camping spot. After everyone set up camp, it was time for supper and some beverages. If you'd carried up a six pack as well as a large bottle of whiskey, you would be ready for some drinking! It was also funny to watch how everyone cooked food. Nick and I had dehydrated meals and he warmed up the water over the campfire. Drew and Tyler had tiny little stoves and cups to make th…

Seventeen Seconds - Part Three

Ten years ago, I attempted qualifying for the Olympic Marathon Trials - Seventeen seconds that changed my future. Read Part 1 and Part 2 first.

Four years is a long time to hang on to a dream - especially when the pursuit of the dream had cost so much physically and emotionally. I still wanted it - but now I was missing 1:17. The trials standard had been lowered to 2:47 and I was already questioning if I could seriously run that fast. After all, 2:48:17 had hurt beyond anything I had ever imagined. I did my research though - the window would be open for one day in 2005, then re-open in mid 2006 until one month before the trial in Boston, 2008. I would rehab and recover well from my surgery and try at the Twin Cities marathon. If that didn't work, I would make one attempt in 2006 and one attempt in 2007. But I'd learned my lesson - no more 90-95 mile weeks, more recovery and actually listening to my body while training. At least that was the plan...

Then I saw an ad for a triat…

Seventeen Seconds - Part Two

Check out part one before reading part two Seventeen seconds. I'd missed my goal by a mere seventeen seconds.  All that work, the training, for naught. I wanted to collapse to the ground in tears, but the medical personal mistook the disappointment for difficulty breathing and whisked me into the tent. A good thing - I didn't realize how cold it really was - and how little I was wearing. Shivers quickly overtook me, both from the cold and emotional distress. I'd failed. I'd come so close, but I'd failed. Where could I have found those seventeen seconds? It was too early to analyze the race - and I would never really figure out where I lost the time. Maybe the final hill at mile 23. Maybe all the sharp twists and turns between 19 and 23. Who knows - I didn't even want to think about it at that point. It was a long and quiet drive back to Colorado Springs. My legs hurt like I'd never imagined after a marathon. Everything ached and getting into and out of the …

Seventeen Seconds - Part One

Take a breath - let it out slow and count to 17. How far can you run in that time? 100 yards? 150 yards? Then think about the last 385 yards in a marathon. Now at that point - how far would you go in 17 second? Or think about the prior 26 miles - where could you find the seconds on the course? It's less then half a second per mile. How many times would you replay those last 17 seconds counting away as you attempted to sprint for the finish line?

In every event there are time thresholds that people want to reach. Some of them are for personal satisfaction and for recognition from other athletes. Those tend to be the even number goals, like the sub 3:00 marathon. Others are set by outside parties - the Boston Qualifying times are perfect examples. And then there is the pinnacle of sports, beyond the reach of most athletes but still in the dreams of many. The Olympic Trials. The final step before the Olympics. Back in 2003, the qualifying time for the 2004 Olympic Marathon Trials was…

After the Flood

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It's been quite the week here in Colorado Springs. We got some rain on Tuesday, but really not that much. Wednesday was a little more, but intermittent and it didn't seem that heavy. I got out during on of the sunny parts of the day and did the classic Chutes-Gold Camp-Buckhorn-Jacks-Chutes rides. It had been a while since I'd done that loop straight out and after a rough start it was a really nice ride. And I beat the rain, so I was pretty happy. Little did we know what was coming... It rained all night Wednesday - at times light, but mostly heavy. There was a brief opening in the clouds Thursday morning when I went running, then the deluge continued. I rode inside during the only other sunny part of the day because I didn't know how long the sun would last and I didn't want to get into trouble on the trails. It keep raining all Thursday night, a torrential downpour that left creeks swollen and roads destroyed. All around the state, people were dealing with amoun…

speeding up nature

While I know that most wild animals ultimately meet their fate roughly and with suffering, it's not something I want to see. Especially when it could have been avoided through two simple actions - controlling a pet or paying attention when behind the wheel. I hope I never have to see what I saw at the start of my ride again. I needed a few minutes to gather myself and ended up riding a lot harder then I'd planned. Simply because I was angry at what happened.

I was pedaling along Cheyenne Blvd, heading west for some fun in Stratton. I knew the trails would be super tacky and was looking forward to a fun ride if I could stay out of the rain. As usual when on the roads, I was paying attention to everything. I'd just seen two deer in someone's front yard, munching on flowers. I'd just gone thru the first of two lights on my way to the parking lot and was waiting for the first cars to pass me. Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw something. A fawn, spots just barely …

Company at Iron City

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We stayed at the Iron City Campground this weekend, buried in the trees below St. Elmo. Unlike most camp grounds that are loops off the main roads, Iron City is right on the road! It's not the main road - in fact the minute the campground ends the road quickly becomes rough and tricky. Because the campground was so far from Buena Vista and "civilization" it was pretty quiet. There were a few other groups there, but everyone was anti social. A wave walking to the bathroom and that was about it. Our company consisted of a pair of chipmunks - and not the normal fat campground chipmunks either. These two guys were skittish and not super interested in handouts. They were more interested in the pine nuts and such in the parking area! But if we didn't move, they scampered around like we weren't there. One movement and they were gone in a flash. It was fun to watch them scurrying, stopping and darting around.


The other thing that made this camp ground a little unusual w…

Above the sky

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Well, almost. Nick trusted me with the map again this weekend and we decided to explore a little out of St. Elmo. More scouting and learning things! Not as big a day this time, but plenty of big views, fun single track, tough hills and alpine riding. We started right out of the campground and headed up. No downhills for a while - just up. The north side of Hancock Road is an old railroad bed, so the grade was nice and gentle. Very different then the straight up, hike-a-bike pushing of the south side of Hancock Pass! Every so often, pink flagging marked the course for the Vapor Trail 125, which would start later that evening. We rode by the old trestle, through the abandoned town, taking in huge views the entire time. Then we reached the Alpine Tunnel Trail - take two on the steep hike-a-bike to cross over the Continental Divide! Nick rode most of it - only had to walk a few short sections. I did a lot more walking, but less then when we did the huge day a month ago. But this time we …

Wish list

It's that time of year - the season is winding down and it's time to take a break from racing. There are a few more races that I am tempted by before the season is really over. But generally, it's time to relax, recover and have fun riding again. Camping trips, long rides on fun (and sometimes new for me) trails, and just enjoying being on the bike. No workouts planned, no stress with what needs to get on the bike. It's always fun exploring and just doing stuff without an agenda. With that said, it's also when we start looking at options for next year. (Wow, 2014 already?) And each year, there's even more fun sounding events to choose from. That list is getting long! If I even get to do half the races, some months are gonna be long.

January - a quiet month filled with mostly training. As usual, I think I'm gonna start the year off right with the Rescue Run. This hilly 10k is held regardless of weather and is a fundraiser for the El Paso County Search and R…