Monday, August 31, 2009

Weekend in Crested Butte

Most of us know Crested Butte because of the ski epic skiing, and cold weather! This time of the year the lifts aren't running the ticket office isn't open, even most of the liquor stores are closed!

We headed down Friday night, meeting up with Suzy, Julie, Kristie, Justin, Walt and Donna at our normal 285 meeting point (Park and Ride).

The trip down was relatively un-eventful until we got to Washington Gulch. This road exits the highway into Crested Butte less than 1 mile outside of the town Mt Crested Butte. It was dark, it was around 10pm, and we were looking for camp!

The pavement ended about 2 miles in, and we were heading up a dry well maintained gravel road. A couple stops to check on sites, but we found one with a crazy dip climb entrance. The Truck with us had no trouble getting in, but the subaru next did have some trouble. Two tries, the first 2 wheels were off the ground... Karyn took us in the Jetta (Two bike racks) and with careful guiding, made it into the spot.

Everything has to be pink!

'the 401'

The next morning we browsed the map. We came all this way just to ride 'the 401 trail'. Turns out the gulch we were staying on was 1 ridge away and we could connect. Do we ride up this gulch and connect? Do we take the upper connection trail (1500 foot climb we then loose all of that elevation prior to 800 more feet of climbing and down 'the 401')? Of course we can drive. The decision was head up this gulch and hit 'the 401' from the top.

Washington gulch is a heck of a climb, but the view was incredible. (I'm still waiting on pictures.) We regathered at the top, had a snack, and headed out for the top of 'the 401'. Once hitting the road connection from the Washington gulch and the Sugarloaf(?) gulch, we met up with about 20 other riders, just to head up the last 600 feet of climbing (Now on single track).

A few breaks, and at this point most of us were walking the steep climbs (thanks for showing us up Justin). We had another snack, regrouped, adjusted for the down hill, and AWAY WE GO!!!

I've got a few great pics on this stretch, but not on my camera, so I'll post them when I get them. We had a few miles of a side hill single track, this was just incredible. Deep valley below, and you trying to cling to the side of the hill on a fast downhill with only two pieces of rubber on dirt! We crossed several micro ecosystems on the way, dropping from steep side hill into the aspens on some long switchbacks with sweeper corners, and down into evergreens and out into wild flower meadows flat and sloped, finally reaching the valley bottom (road). We're still above the town of Gothic and way above Mt Crested Butte. We scan over the map deciding whether we go left for 200 more feet of climb and 2-4 miles of single track, or just hit the road.

We all decide, hit the single track, so heading up the road we don't get far before Justin is having problems shifting, finally I can keep up with this guy! But he stopped to fix whatever his issue was, and was not successful, but he did manage to improve things. We continued up the road before arriving at my turn around point and decided we were on the wrong road... 100 feet of climbing for what? We're all pretty tired at this point.

We turn back and find the right trail, and head on up that. Climb after Climb, corner after corner, Justin way out in the lead, Kristie says "Justin! Are you positive this is the right trail?" I think that about sums it up...

We finally reach some down hills for a small rest, but for 2 miles it was up and down, in very vegetated areas. This section had more great sweeper corners. Finally hitting the road at Gothic, we started searching for the 'lower connect' to our gulch... This one looks like about 500 foot climb then drop back to the road, but we still had a mile left to climb to the site.

We began searching for cell signal... If Walt, Donna or Karyn would just come to the bottom of the road and pick up someone we could shuttle the rest... 1 failed attempt at connection, we continued, then finally we connected. Both Karyn and Walt were going to come down and shuttle all of us. So now all we had to do was get to the bottom of Washington Gulch...

We picked up the pace on the downhills, and just exiting Sugarloaf(?) gulch we found the 'lower connect'. At this point it was only Justin contemplating the ride. We headed off down the road through Mt Crested Butte, one of those downhills Kristie on my tail, we hit 43 MPH. Pretty fun sweepers through town. Ending at Washinton Gulch Kristie and I first, stopped and said "I really thought they would beat us here". There was no mention of "Let's head up the road until we find them".

Kristie and Justin traded bikes... I'm not sure what is wrong with this guy, but he headed up, "I kinda want to complete the loop"... So we ditched him. We waived when we drove by... The trip ended in 28 miles for me, and Justin was around 32.

After 'the 401'
Margs and Chips for a great after ride snack... Cleaned up a bit, and headed into Crested Butte for dinner.

That place is Dead this time of year. But somehow there was a tour bus of retirees trying to eat at the first restaurant we found that looked good, so with 1/2 hour wait, we kept walking. We ended up at the town brewery for some great conversation... After we headed back up for more Margs, I lasted about 1 drink, and can't finish the story of what happened that night, I was sleeping.

We woke in the morning to rain at 6 am, Kristie was the only one to get up briefly to move some things under trees etc. I got up at 7:45, Karyn at 8. We took a walk, got prepared for the day and started seeing other heads around 9am. Another phat breakfast, and Karyn and I were the only ones picking away at loading up, it began to rain. We all hustled to get packed up, done in about 30 minutes... I wish I could order rain for a camp pack up on demand all the time!

We headed into town to the bike shop to check on Justin's bike and some trails. We found the weather to report 12-3 was going to be good weather, so we headed to Heartman rocks for a gentle ride we could all go on.

We hit some nice trails, and a few occasional "technical" off shoot trails. I managed on 1 trail to fall once left, and once right. I'm having a little trouble with my egg beater peddles.

Heading down the front side I was ahead and got to the car first, Karyn took a bit of a spill herself. Kind of a cross endo sort of thing, I only heard about it and helped clean the wounds... This trip ended with about 10 miles, and my soar butt.

Then we chased rain all the way back to Denver, and didn't manage to get a good washing of the bikes...

What a great weekend. We'll have to plan another like this again!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Tour de Cure Colorado 2009

This all started last night, I almost forgot! Karyn skipped training with her trainer to have a 'rest' day before the BIG ride today and then picked Tucker up from work in Longmont and we headed to the VIP dinner for the Tour de Cure! They invited everyone who raised such an amount to the stage for a photo. The woman standing next to Karyn actually was on a bicycle ride to Jamestown a few weeks ago so they had a warm hug and encouraged each other regarding the ride the following day -

So, this morning Karyn got up at 6am to ride 62 miles... on her road bicycle to support the American Diabetes Association (you've probably seen a blog post or 4 about this subject already). She started out in row 2 as they invited all VIPS to the front - anyone who collected more than $1000 in donations. Last evening she realized that the heart rate strap for her GPS was at work! So, she was not able to use this valuable tool to guide her blood sugars during the ride... The GPS was still able to tell her that she climbed 3083 feet and burned 2700 calories so not all was lost ;)

Here she off to ride!

Here she is after arriving back at noon - started at 7 am....

There was a 'minor' issue at mile 50... which had started a few miles prior. The integrity of the rear tire was compromised (prolly a mfg defect) and a LARGE flap was blown from the tire - BLOWOUT. No bueno. I promptly pulled off the course after I heard the loud BANG and got to work. A 'ride ambassador' helped me fold a $1 bill into 4ths and place inside the tire between tire and tube. He then followed me the last 12 miles and I made it!

I rode with Team Red - all DIABETICS! Here is the team photo!!!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Evergreen Mountain

This week Karyn didn't do a training ride for the Tour, she did some sprinting exercise with David and I on Evergreen Mountain. David came in from a quick visit with his family, and we headed up (the long way) to Evergreen. We found a cool trail Alderfer/Three Sisters Park. We headed up Evergreen Mountain, and cut things short because it was getting late.

Sunday morning.... trucks and jeeps

So, my good friend Jennifer sends me a message on Saturday asking if I would be willing to help pick up a new-to-her stove. No problem! I haven't driven the truck in several weeks and Jennifer is one of my favorite people. We finally figure out when and where to meet and get it done. It ends up being 7 am at her house... which is 20 miles from my house. So, on Sunday morning I get up at 6... drive to her house, 10 minutes late but that's okay -she got me Starbucks coffee! Yeah! We head to Kiowa, yeah Kiowa, to pick up the stove. The gentleman she's purchasing it from is awesome and helps us load it into the truck.... we are worried about how to unload it but I assure her (and him) that we can do it. We strap it all down and head back to her house. We get there about 10am (did I mention the stove was in Kiowa?) and set to removing the old stove from the kitchen. We end up having to remove the handle to get it out the back door but are successful. A bit a manuevering with the dolly and whooppee! See the results...

after 2 years of having an inoperable stove and oven... she next boiled water! And this stove is a bit more attractive than the one that was removed. she'll remind me what color it was but yucky says it all!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Congrats Ed and Amanda

Ed and Amanda got hitched this week. They had a reception for friends and family at the Reverend Bob's house. It was great to catch up. Ed's family was in town, and started chatting it up for a weekend in Tahoe this year. January likely. Sounds like they'll make it out for Monopalooza Aspen!

The cousins came back

Brad, Janet, Landon and Kaleena came back. We cruised all over town. Breakfast at DJ's at Berkley, then off to REI, and everyone headed directly to the kids play zone! Didn't know about it? Neither did I. 4th floor right in front of the clearance section. (I've been by it a lot...)

Then off to the Denver Aquarium... I haven't been in that place since Landry's purchased it. Yeah weird, a seafood restaurant chain owns the aquarium... They still have the swimming tiger, and flash flood. The place was pretty crowded.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What's this??? a mid-week posting?!?!?!?!

Yep! We've been busy tonight...
Jettas, Jeeps and mountain bikes, OH MY!

First.. Karyn's newest toy.... a Yeti AS-R mountain bike... most of the components came off a TREK - blech, but can be upgraded.... new Candy pedals and Gore-tex shoes for the messy commutes....


Next the cabin air filter on the Jetta - not so pretty

and last, but OH NOT SO least, JEEP!!!

Winch is being installed with many-a-modification, like everything else on the Jeep.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sunday's Training ride

Arg! I forgot to get a picture of the ride this Sunday. Karyn was headed out for a 50 mile training ride. She was nice enough to bring me along for part of it. I was targeting 20 miles or so.

We headed South on the South Platte river, they have done some improvements on this trail over the last few years, we got into some nice parts of trail! After a while we had been guessing on which way the trail actually went, but ended up on the Bear creek trail. This creek is very nice. It almost reminds me of riding up the Animas in Durango. We eventually got off at Kipling, and headed up toward the clear creek trail, but gave up when we hit 26th. We had gone up some crazy hills. The first hill was 12% grade about .2 of a mile, the second was 15% grade, and a bit longer. At one point heading north, we ended up in a cute little neighborhood, it must have been called "Glen" because all the roads were called "Glen" something... "Glen Moor" "Glen Ayre" "Glen Dale" "Glen Gary" "Glen Sheil" it was kind of weird.

Anyway downhill all the way back to the house where Karyn dropped me off at 27 miles, and she headed back out. She rode the rest of her ride on Cherry Creek Bike Path. I think she's going to be ready for the Tour de Cure in another 2 weeks!

She was even playing with her new toy. The Garmin 301. This is attached to her bike, and reads speed, location, grade, even heart rate. After the return she was plotting the course in the map software, and showing off to David. David are you getting one next?

We rounded out the day by having a fish fry. Time to eat some of that Alaskan fish! Thanks David for bringing the hush puppies!

We met a dog named Zeek!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Saturday Shrimp Boil

This Saturday I spent the morning working on my new winch. I've got a few bumper modifications, and I'm about to make a few Grill mods. The winch I picked out has an air compressor built in! But it's a little big for the winch mount bumper I've got.

I'll try to get some pix up eventually, but I really haven't taken any.

Saturday afternoon we headed up to Jack and Sarah's place for a shrimp boil. We decided this came from Sarah's side of the family, 4 generation Coloradans, not from Jack's side of the family 1 generation removed from Louisiana. Go figure. But I think it's pretty much the same as the crawfish boil you've surely heard of. They just use shrimp instead... I've never been to either type boil before, but it sure was fun! You tell me if this is right.

Start up the boiler, toss in some spice packets, follow that up with some onions and Bratworst chunks, next some potatoes, then corn, and last but not least the shrimp! It was roughly 10-15 minutes between additions, and follow it up with toss it out on the table, and DIG IN!

Jack in his apron:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Brad Janet Landon and Kalena come to town

Last week, we had a short visit with a tired family.

Brad, Janet, Landon and Kalena stopped by after flying in on the Red Eye. It was fun to see them!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Ah, the weekend....

So, Tucker met me in Boulder yesterday after my ride and we shared lunch at one of our favorite Boulder spots - Mountain Sun!

We went home and got ready to go to THE CornHole party! Woot! Cornhole... is actually something. A beanbag game with expensive 'regulation' beanbags. A guy from my work hosted the event - a Cornhole tournament! Here's some of the highlights!

Tucker worked on the deck while I was out riding my bicycle and got the last boards next to the house installed! One step closer to a deck party!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Training Ride - 08/01/09

On Saturday I rode with a group ride sponsored, in part, by the ADA from Boulder, up LeftHand Canyon to Jamestown and back. I met other diabetic riders and a mom whose 27 year old son was just diagnosed with type 1. She is afraid for his future and his present - not accepting the change in lifestyle very well... I also met a man (on a mountain bike!) who talked to me about why I ride and in the middle of it he reached into his pocket and gave me all the cash he had ($5) and stated that he would like to sponsor me on my ride. really??? AWESOME! Diabetes affects everyone, not just the person with the disease... I will ride with Red Riders - a team of all diabetics. Here are some details below and if you are tired of hearing my talk about the ride... go to the next blog posting! Oh, and if you feel like donating to my ride...

“Being a diabetic athlete means a dedication to trial and error. Every diabetic athlete I have ever met or read about is a meticulous record-keeper and is in his or her own way a scientist, continuously experimenting on his or her body to find the best combination of insulin, food, stress, exercise. The crazy thing is that the combination keeps changing and it is highly personalized, so there has to be a willingness to continuously revamp, re-evaluate, re-organize. Having diabetes and being committed to performance requires a degree of mental flexibility that deserves recognition and celebration. It is symbolic of what all of us as humans have to do to perform at high levels.

One could think I just want special recognition, and maybe I do. Why? Because receiving the recognition on race day gives me and my fellow diabetics the motivation to continue seeing the glass half full on the days when our blood sugar soars to 400 for no explainable reason, or when we have no desire to eat but we must or risk passing out if we don’t.

If you are a person surviving diabetes, I implore you to ride this year and do everything you can to declare your status, so others on the course and in the wider community have the opportunity to celebrate and be inspired by you.”
(Mari says a lot more stuff, and you can read that on the Tour de Cure Colorado site if you like.)

But like her, I’m going to implore you if you’re a diabetic and you cycle to get out there this year and ride in a Tour de Cure in your state. Contact the coordinator and ask them if they’ve got the RED Rider team. If you are not diabetic, ride anyway or volunteer to help on the day of the ride!

And now I'm off my high horse...