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Showing posts from September, 2014

Foose's Loop

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Day two. After a quiet night camped at the base of Fooses, we woke to a thick layer of clouds coating the mountains. Hummm ... We were planning on climbing back up into those clouds. As we ate breakfast and got organized to ride, we watched the clouds floating by -forming and dissipate only to reform. All the while, blue sky teased us from behind the clouds. We dressed a little warmer and set off back up North Fooses - this time we would take the power line road all the way. More steady pedaling and climbing. Once we hit the gate and started climbing in earnest, it was mix of pedaling and pushing. Easier then following the stream the day before, but still a hard stretch. The clouds closed down for a bit, fine rain misting down all around us. As we reached the Crest Trail, the sun finally broke through but it wasn't warm. I put on my wind jacket and we headed down the trail. We were just in front of the 10:00 shuttle and Nick wanted to stay that way. I was trying, but tired. A few …

Crest exploring

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Not so much the last hurrah of the season, but the last expedition with the sole mission of exploring. No intervals, no cadance drills - just ride bikes and new trails. Back to Salida we went - time to check out Greens and Fooses Creeks. Nick's ridden both of them, but to me they were mysterious trails plummeting to the east off of Monarch Crest. But we also had another agenda - could we get to summit of Monarch pass via North Fooses and the power line cut? The map suggested that we could, which meant one thing. Time to ride and possibly hike as far as we could and hopefully reach the spine of the continent.
Saturday started out with a little CT appetizer before the Fooses road adventure. I stopped to take a picture just below the power lines - looking up at the communication center on top of the pass. That's where we were headed... Then came the long, gradual road climb up and up. Our optimism was high as we passed a sign that said "CDNST - 7 miles." The distance s…

Equality

There's been a lot of talk about equality in sports lately, from the variances in prize purses at national level mountain bike races to the differences in slots for the woman pros at the Kona Ironman. Usually it starts with the women pushing for equality - the same payout for top three at least instead of getting 50% of what the men win, or less. Or in the case of Kona, having equal opportunity for women to compete. Once you start digging, the examples of inequality in sports start piling up. There are voices calling for change and some athletes willing to take a chance and speak out. But even that is a risk - the more vocal you are, the more people you will piss off and the fewer opportunities you will have. There are loud voices arguing that the current status que is fine and the numbers don't support promoting equality in racing and prize money. And if all you look at is the numbers, that's absolutely true. When there are 20 women racing at a national level mountain bi…

Second and third loaves

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Another reason I love bread. It's a community thing - especially with Facebook and such. Make a batch of bread, take some pictures and post. And viola! Plenty of suggestions and tips from the world. After my first attempt at yeast bread, I posted up some pictures and got some useful ideas, like use some starches, honey in the yeast and such. So I encorporated some, did some more reading and rolled up my sleeves for batch two.
For this batch, I let the yeast proof a little longer, using some honey as well as the sugar and some milk in the warm liquid. It went crazy and I had some fabulous foam. I added eggs (forgot to get them to room temperature first) and some different starches to dough when mixing. That all seemed to work well - had a decent rise. Still denser then I wanted, but good. Felt like I was making progress in my attemptes at a nice, crusty loaf.


On the third try, I added another egg and made sure they were room temperature. I also let the yeast proof in the milk and h…

Rookie

Only a rookie once but still a novice. That's my feeling right now. I've successfully finished - under some of the most perfect conditions I could have hoped for - the Vapor Trail 125.  Even so, I'm hardly a veteran - very much a novice. There's still a lot I need to learn about this epic race. Another year of riding and preparing would have done us well and still will. From feeling steady on the singletrack to riding harder on the road, and having food more organized - lots of things to reflect on. I was over prepared in some areas, but completely underprepared for others. Singletrack - exuberantly prepared  for the climbing and descends. The long road climbs? Yikes. Mentally drained on Old Monarch Pass. I was ready for fluids, with my drink mix and the amount of bottles I'd need, but that calculation turned into overprepared near the end. Food? I thought I had everything I'd want to eat. I was wrong and ended up not eating half of what I dragged around on the…

Bread

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There is something about a fresh loaf of bread - it resonates of home and love. Is it because of the effort involved in crafting a loaf of bread from scratch? The warmth of the oven and the earthy smell filling the air as it bakes? I don't know. My mom always made fresh bread - we never had store bought growing up. I can remember the light crunch of the ends, dripping with honey just after it came out of the oven. We'd fight over the crusty ends as kids and I always assumed I'd figure out how to craft my own yummy loaves.

Before Nick had to go gluten free, I'd make bread occasionally. Not enough to get practiced at it, but enough to be dangerous. It was work, but always worth it. As I got busier with life, the effort of making bread fell to the wayside. We didn't eat that much of it before and afterwards... well not worth it for just me.

While I've gotten good at baking muffins and such - the easy gluten free offerings, I haven't had much luck with yeast. I…

Into the Darkness and back with the Sun - Vapor Trail 125

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Challenges take many forms - mental, physical and emotional. I knew that the Vapor Trail 125 would encompass everything - the mental highs and lows of riding some of the hardest and most fun trails in Colorado, the physical toll 125 miles takes on anyone and the emotional rollercoaster between riding like the wind and plodding uphill. When I emailed my resume and application in for the 10th anniversary of this legendary race, I was taking a chance. It was a year sooner then Nick and I planned, reducing our organization and scouting time significantly. I didn't want to wait - I wanted to step up and challenge myself. So after 24 Hours in the Enchanted Forest, the preparation went into full swing. Armed with the knowledge gained from our long rides, I rolled up to the starting line on the F-Street Bridge with the goal of finishing with a smile and a plan to carry me through 125 miles of riding.
10:00 PM - after a day of trying to chill out and calm the nerves it was finally time  to …

Heros of the night - Vapor Trail 125

Its dark, it's cold - there's nothing to do but wait. Wait for the herd of crazy cyclists who think it's a great idea to ride for 125 through the Colorado high country. The riders might be the ones celebrated during and after the event, but the heros are truely the volunteers out all night and day. There were the moto riders keeping tabs on us at Blanks Cabin, then riding around and appearing at other key spots on course. The Cascade Aid station - dark and cold and the middle of the night. The volunteers there were slammed with riders when I got there, but still ensured each rider got personal attention. Needed something on the bike fixed? They had the parts. There was a fire roaring in the background and fresh burritos being wrapped to order. I didn't linger there - just stayed long enough to refil my water and throw on a warmer layer for the climb to the divide. Then next sign of civilization - other then the trail of lights sparkling in the dark mountains was the Sn…

Tapering

The hardest part about a big race? The tapering - especially at home when the weathers nice. It's almost painful to see the lovely mornings and rain free afternoons and not be able to get out and have fun. It's been a few years since I've had an at home taper as well, making the jitters and antsieness  associated with a taper ever worse. Before Enchanted Forest, it was easy - not only were we traveling, but then we were at the camp. Nothing to do but laze around and chill out. Perfect set up for a quality taper - get some pre rides done, but otherwise just relax. And now that I think about it, that's been the case for most of my big races, even back when I was doing triathlons. Travel before the race, a few short workouts to flush out the sitting and then - nothing. This feels different some how. I've got the taper going, coming off a few hard weeks and a good race at the 12 Hours in the Sage.  Nothing I do now will provide more fitness for the ride coming Saturday…