Thursday, July 29, 2010

Like a bolt of Lightning.

So, there I was, riding to the Home Depot after work, when I glanced into the wooded lot alongside the road, like you do, anHOLY COW LOOKIT THAT TREE!!

This was a part of the middle of the tree.

The treetop dropped straight down to the ground.

It threw pieces of wood bigger than me 100+ feet away.

Lightning. It's an awesome thing.
Mileage: ~6

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Two for the post of one!

Once again, falling behind on my bloggery. This should bring me up to current though, unless halfway through the typing of this I spontaneously find myself going for a ride and snapping pitcures of the darkness.

Unlikely. You'll see why in a bit.

This post starts off last Friday. I decided to try to do a circle around the peaks, with a minor hiking detour up Abineau Canyon trail to Waterline Road on the north side of the peaks, then riding down waterline to a viewpoint overlooking Lockett Meadow, and the Schultz fire burn area. But, about 15 miles into the ride, I decided not to do all that and just ride for the sake of enjoyment. Some nice pictures came out of it...

Slowly clouds move in...

After taking a bit of a nap on a rock near Bismark Lake, I headed out with the planned intention of making it around the peaks still. But the building thunderstorms persuaded me to head back towards home. I ended up racing the storm front all the way back to town.
Blasting across Baderville, I had to stop and take a picture of the rain marching down the side of the mountain. I knew I was gonna get wet.

The storm caught me about a half mile away from a gas station. Normally, the peaks are above this tree.

Eventually, the rain let up, and I made it home. Later in the afternoon, I met up with TC and we went for a ride up and over Observatory Mesa. We met a few nice people, and had a good ride.

Runoff from Tunnel Spring.

Fast forward a week, and I found myself shopping for powerbars and stuff to add to energy drink mix to make it taste somewhat decent. Why? Because I was going to ride in the Taylor House Century Ride on Saturday, with plans to ride the 65 mile route, or possibly the 90 mile route.

Yes, I am insane.

Day of the ride, Code shows up to ride too, which motivated me even more. TC was there to see us off, and take our goody bags for us, since she couldn't ride due to her knees. The closer we got to start time, the more excited I got, until finally, a few minutes past 7, a police car barked it's siren, and the horde moved out, amidst the hundreds of clicks of hundreds of riders clipping into their pedals. We rolled out of the hospital parking lot, down Beaver Street, and wove through town, out to Townsend Winona Road, and onto Leupp Road. I caught up with Code pretty quick in town, and managed to drop him before we got out of town.

I was feeling great, riding well within my limits, and was actually passing a couple people. I even passed a couple of groups of riders on uphills, who had passed me on the preceding downhill. I was feeling so good I didn't even realize I had done 22 miles already until I blazed past the first aid station, the turn around for the 43 mile route. No wind, just enough cloud over to keep the sun cool, it was a great day for a ride.

Code finally caught up to me at the 65 mile ride turn around point. I was feeling great, and he felt good, so we both decided to ride on to Leupp, the halfway point for the 90 mile ride. We stuck together, got passed by some folks, but paced ourselves to the aid station in Leupp.
The only picture I have of the ride. The peaks look small...

After taking a break in Leupp, Code and I took off. I fell into a groove, which was just a little faster than Code's, and I left him behind. I made it to the aid station, rested up, and waited for Code, where a similar scenario played out. We left, and I ended up leaving him behind. I made it to the last aid station, at the end of a long climb, and took some time to rest and eat a popsicle and refill my bottles. One of the volunteers, after asking how well my ride was going, asked if I'd gotten any flats. I held my hands up. "Don't say that, man! The first rule of Flat Club is we do not talk about Flat Club!" Everyone laughed. I left after Code rolled in on the last, and what I knew to be the hardest leg of the ride.

Why is it they always schedule the hardest climbs for the last 10 miles, when you're dead beaten tired?

Up Townsend Winona, through town, up Cedar Hill, just focusing on the pavement 6 feet in front of me. Before I knew it, I was waiting at a stop light to turn into the hospital. A few people clapped and cheered as I rolled up, and TC came and gave me a hug, told me that she volunteered to help out for the ride, and took STeve so I could go get food. I sat down to a great burger, and talked with other riders and volunteers.

I guess some people were talking about "That crazy guy riding the 90 in denim shorts on a singlespeed" and how amazed they were at how well I was doing. That made me feel good. Great ride, great riders, great volunteers, great experience. By the time I had gotten home, I had ridden 100 miles in 6 hours and one minute.

"1: Ride a full century. This mainly is just a round about way of saying I want to build up my endurance further."

I can cross that one off my list.

Mileage: None today, but I did walk some.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Riding in Durango, part deux.

Part 1 is here.

Yesterday was a leisurely ride through Durango, followed by a motorcycle ride to Ouray.

Up to that point I'd been itching to go find some singletrack to ride on, but I'd been busy doing lots of other stuff. (River rafting, train rides, eating, playing Scrabble...) Finally, two days before we were supposed to leave, I filled the Camelbak and both bottles with water, (shudder) and took off to the trailhead at the base of Animas City Mountain, right next to the campground we pitched our tents in.

Animas City Mountain is a brutal assault on the legs. The first mile is nothing but steep uphill switchbacks, followed by another two and a half miles of steep uphill to the summit, which is about 1,500 feet above the trailhead, according to the map. It doesn't help matters that the trail is very rocky and loose, so it was hard to get any momentum built up or get a rhythm down, and I ended up hike-a-biking a pretty good bit of the way up. The views, however were worth it.

Looking along Main Street, towards downtown Durango, from about a third of the way up.

The Animas River valley from the same spot.

Sailplane! They get towed over the mountain and released to ride the thermals.

This is how rocky the trail was.

I loved the layering of the rocks on the opposite side of the valley, and how you can see the lifting over time.
I was hoping the storm would come closer.

Tri at the top of the mountain!

The storm to the north.

Hidden Valley, from a little further along the top.

Looking westward from the top.I'm not used to seeing mountains everywhere you look from the top of a mountain.


After riding down the backside of the mountain, I consulted my map to see where I wanted to go next. The Colorado trail looked inviting, so I rode to a gas station, bought some Sobe for the bottles, and headed down to the trailhead, 6 miles down the road. I didn't ride too far down the trail, as I didn't want to be out in unfamiliar terrain after dark, but the part I rode on was a great length of trail. Wonderful flow, low technicality, and friendly people out for walks and rides.

The trail itself follows Junction creek, winding along the canyon wall for a few miles, before crossing the creek and scaling the wall on the other side. I turned around at the crossing.

I would have taken more pictures, but I was having fun.

The last day before we left, I went downtown, with the intention of walking back to the campground, to see the sights, and walk into every bike shop I came across. I met some great people, friendly dogs, and even some art:
Outside the Durango City Hall.

This was just cool. Too bad it looks like the tallbike doesn't move regularly.

I was not expecting to see so many bikes in Durango, and certainly not the types of bikes I saw. Lots of classic and vintage bikes, lots of higher quality mountain and road bikes, tons of cruisers, lots of Xtracycles, and only 3 or 4 department store Bicycle Shaped Objects. They were locked up or being ridden everywhere. It was great, and I really enjoyed it there. If it weren't for the mosquitoes, I'd put it on my list of places I'd like to live.
Mileage: cero.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Biking in Durango, part une

...Or, How I Spent My Summer Vacation. I would have posted these sooner, but I've been distracted by riding my bikes. Falling behind in my blogging means there's a lot to blog about. Also, sorry about the date stamps in the pictures. My camera decided to just start randomly adding those in.

As you may have guessed by now, I recently spent some time in the beautiful Durango, Colorado. It was very pretty, and... Durango-y. I did a lot, and even managed to squeeze in some biking, the photo evidence of which I'll get to shortly.

It all started with a 300 mile motorcycle ride. Alex and I both rode our motorcycles there, with the intent of heading up to Ouray at some point during the week. Sorry, no pictures of the ride to and from.

Since TC and I both brought our mountain bikes, we hopped on them one day and took off through town in search of some leisurely riding. I can say that the Animas River trail, which runs most of the length of Durango along the (you guessed it!) Animas River, delivered in that aspect. It's a pretty arterial urban trail, with beautiful scenery.

Part way down, we fund a BMX track. Of course I had to have a go.

Unfortunately, my mountain biking skills kept both wheels fairly planted on the ground, but it was fun to ride around a few times.

At a few points, the trail parallels the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.

A couple days later, TC, Alex and I headed up on the motorcycles to Ouray, through some of the most beautimus terrain I've ever seen with my own eyes. Over 10 and 11,000 foot mountain passes, with peaks still towering over us, scary tight hairpin turns, through rain and sleet, it was an incredible ride.

On the way down from Coal Bank Pass.

Snowden Peak, from Molas Pass. The picture doesn't show it as well, but it had this pearlescent shine to it.

Molas Lake.

Red Mountain. It's amazing just how red it really is. My camera sort of washed the colors out.

Main Street in Ouray, looking southward.

Once we arrived in Ouray, cold, hungry, and stiff, we went to a little burger joint, called Maggie's Kitchen. On a table next to the register, there's a basket of permanent markers and a note that said "Leave us your autograph!" All the walls were painted white, and you could sign them. Great feature of the place, and all three of us left our mark. So, as we're sitting at the table, Alex pointed out something that completely made my day:
Yup, from the Fat Cyclist blog I read so much, and it's actually (I'm guessing, but I'm pretty sure) from when Fatty's sister and her friends did the Ride the Rockies event mentioned in this post on his blog.

More pictures to follow in Part Deux, tomorrow, if I don't get distracted by something shiny.

Also, for pictures of the other not so bike related stuff I did, I have an album up on Facetube.

Mileage: de nada.