Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Up Rist Canyon

Today, I went on one of the most challenging rides I've EVER been on. I definitely experienced a new element of riding today.
Climbing.
I'd got some good hill climbing in a Pingree. There was a good 2 miler at 6-7%, and then the climb up to Pingree, which is about 3.5 or 4 miles at around 5%. I now call those "hills". Because today, I learned what mountains are all about.
I did Rist today. Incredibly tough. I for sure need a smaller front ring. As I said before, Rist is a 12 mile climb at 6%, with a half mile of sustained 12% at the end. So incredibly hard.

The first part of the ride is about 10 miles along the west edge of FoCo towards Bellvue. That served as a nice warm up. Then, you hit Bellvue (a tiny little town) and head due west, into the mountains. The approach to the canyon has a pretty ominous view. Massive hills and mountains, and you're riding straight at them. But instead of turning away, the road heads straight into the heart of them. At first approach you think "can there really be a road there?" Sure enough, there is. I got started on that, and just kept my legs spinning at a good pace. I was comfortable in my 2nd to smallest gear, but after about 6 miles, the going gets tough, and I dropped into my smallest (and would later wish I had more). I got a little sample video of what the valley is like on my phone :)
video 
I apologize for the low quality. I mean, it's my phone after all.

Then it was time fore the big stuff!
I HAD to stop and take a breather before hitting the 12%, or NO WAY was I making it.
Here's a video of that! P.S. this was taken when I was on the way back down, and I'd had some rest. The first time, I was CRAWLING. Maybe half this speed.
video
 And here's a nice picture of that same area. Once you catch you're breath and you can see straight, it's quite beautiful.

Finally made it to the top!!! A great view on the other side (and a gnarly 1 mile hill too. It's a 14%. I rode down, and climbed back up it. Had to stop and walk. Twice.)
In the upper middle screen, you can see a snow covered mountain shelf. It's hard to tell, but that's The Mummy. Pingree Park sits right at the base of that. Yes, I lived up there for 3.5 months. Hard to believe.
(P.S. The Mummy is about 20 miles away in this picture)
Going back down Rist was incredible too! I'd say for about 10 straight miles I never came out of 52x11, literally. Not once. And about half that time I was totally spun out. So unbelievably fast. I didn't time myself, so I don't know my exact average speed, but I'm guessing it was around 43ish-45ish mph. For 10 miles straight.
Cornering at that speed is a unique experience too. When you dive into a corner at 45mph or 50mph, it's really a strange feeling. The best way I can describe it is a feeling of "weightlessness". You don't feel connected to the earth, and you don't feel anything pushing down on you. I assume it's what being able to fly must feel like.

Man, I was totally smoked after this ride. Definitely one of the hardest rides of my life. Climbing is so incredibly mental. I've heard people watch the Tour de France and look at some of those mountains, and at the pace those riders go up them, and they say "That's not physically possible." Well, they're absolutely right.

Because climbing isn't just physical. It's physical, and mental, and spiritual. The best way I can describe it, is that it's Purely Human.

So, physically possible? Absolutely not. Humanly possible? Absolutely yes.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Trainer!

Just finished a good ride on the trainer!
The knee felt good and I think I can finally get back in the swing of riding. Things aren't as chaotic as they have been, and I'm getting settled into FoCo nicely.

I'm planning on heading up Rist Canyon for a good workout sometime later this week. Rist is about a 12 mile sustained climb, averaging around 5-6% the whole way. Then you hit the switchbacks, and the last halfish mile is 12-14%. Yikes.
After topping that climb, I'll take a turn and head north to the Poudre Canyon, then hit the Canyon and cruise back down to FoCo.
Hopefully I can find a camera to borrow and get some pictures!!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Wow, this one is overdue. I wonder if anyone even reads this?

Hello to anyone who may read this.
It's been FOREVER since I've posted. Due to quite a few reason, I'd guess. First of all, I was pretty bummed out about riding and racing in general since March. Some car trouble ended up wiping out all my racing/traveling funds, and the spring road racing plans went by the wayside. I continued to ride, but with just not the same spirit. July rolled around, and I found myself getting a job at beautiful Pingree Park in Colorado.

Pingree Park is located approx. 50 miles west of Fort Collins, Co, and sits on the north side of the Mummy Mountain range. Along with myself, came the Cronus, of course. All there is to ride there is unmaintained gravel roads, and there are few to choose from. But if you think I didn't ride, you're wrong.

I got myself some 28c Continental 4-Season tires, slapped them on, and hit the gravel. I'm proud to say that in a solid month and a half of riding, I never had ONE FLAT. I still don't understand how it happened. There were times I thought for sure I'd be changing a tube, especially when going down a gnarly gravel 12% decent at 35-40+ mph, but absolutely no flats. Incredible. My theory is that the bomb-proof 4 season tires, combined with the shock-absorbing carbon frame of the Cronus, made for a forgiving combo on tubes.

The riding came to a stop, due to safety issues about the area (blind one lane roads and no phone service), and a knee injury (i'm pretty sure I fractured my patella). So in the mean time, it was just stretching and rock climbing.

After Pingree, I decided I liked Colorado so much that I decided to become a permanent resident of Fort Collins. My friends Emily and Lauren were kind enough to take me in at their place, and I turned a spare room into a bedroom. I now live just off of Horsetooth road in Fort Collins, Colorado.

I've only sampled a small portion of the cycling here, but so far, it's unbelievable. Some of the most physically challenging roads I've ever been on are just a few miles from my home. I've also taken up running a lot more, as that has helped my knee get back into business. Along with the running, I've also found rock climbing to be a really great workout, and an incredible fun activity as well.

I'm anxious to get back in the swing of riding, but work has me tied down. If I have the will/energy to ride at all, it's on my trainer after dark. But, you gotta do what you've gotta do.

All in all, I'm pleased with my decision to move to Fort Collins. A change in scenery was a much needed thing. I've got the itch to travel too much and see too many new places to stay home for very long.

Well that's it for now. Soon I'm hoping to have some pics up from Pingree and my new home, Fort Collins.
I'd also like to get a review of my Cronus's performance to date up, and let all of you know what I think of Fisher's flagship road design. 



Saturday, March 13, 2010

Racing! And my spine.

Due to popular demand, i've decided to update my blog!

There are lots of things to talk about, but the most important is the road racing season has started! I've got 3 races under my belt already. The first one was the first race of the Spring Fling crit series in Lawrence. Props to the Lawrence crew for running such a smooth event. I ended up getting a point in the middle prime of the race. Meaning I crossed the line in 4th in the sprint. There was some confusion the lap before about whether THAT lap was the prime or not. Apparently some jerk in the crowd decided to ring a bell that souded EXACTLY like the prime bell, and 3 other riders and I ended up doing a pointless sprint the lap before the actuall prime. Awesome. The end of the race ended up sucking though, as I was shoved off the inside of a corner and into the mud in the very last turn before the finish line by an out of control rider. Fell way back and was able to sprint my way back to 9th across the line. But the cut off for point is 8th. Blah.

The 2nd race was the second race of the Spring Fling series. The race started off pretty fast paced like the last one, and I ended up being in bad position for the middle prime sprint, but managed to smash my way up to 3rd across the line, picking up 2 points. As we started the last lap I was feeling awesome, and knew I was going to be in contension at the finish line. As we rounded the last corner I tried to rocket my way through the outside and slingshot up to the front, and commence trying to tear my crank arms off. But, i'm not sure what happened between the riders, if they touched wheels or just decided to ride erratic and slower than dead turtles, but two slow movers swerved  right out in front of me and I was forced to take the ditch. In an attempt to get back on the pavement real fast I caught the edge of the road and crashed. The bike faired ok, but I mangled a finger on my left hand and was bleeding in a few other spots. Needless to say I didn't get any points on the finish line, but I still got up and finished. As I crossed the line by myself, I already had tomorrow in mind, which was the first of the Lake Perry Dam Races.

I showed up at Lake Perry and was feeling good. The weather was nice and warm. I got warmed up nicely on my trainer before the race started, and was feeling pretty good. The NOS I fueled up with also helped. They called Cat 5 and I headed to the line. They set us off right on time, and things were pretty fast paced to start, but settle down after about a mile. I just thought I'd stay towards the front, and if I felt like it, I'd make a move. On the first lap, there was a terrible wreck just behind me on the decent on the backside of the dam. I didn't look because I was going too fast to take my eyes off things in front of me, but the sliding bodies and grinding bikes didn't create a good picture in my mind. When we got around to that spot on the next lap, ambulences were in the road and we had to stop the race. One guy was knocked out and put on a stretcher and hauled off in an ambulence. Another was laying in the ditch, and looked to be in serious pain. Other were walking around holding injured limbs and mangled bikes. I tried to put all of it out of my mind. We got started again, and went on and hit the huge climb that was just before the finish line, where we would start our 3rd and final lap. It's 5 mile laps, and I was feeling pretty good/stupid, and decided to go for some sort of strange impossible solo win. When we hit that climb, I attacked. I quickly got a huge gap, and when I crested the climb I took a look back at the damage. I saw about 50 guys back behind me around 80 or 90 yards down the hill. I tried to keep my pace up on the big downhill that followed, and keep it rolling once I hit the big long windy straight away on the dam. But it was to no avail. I was ran down after about 2 miles of riding alone by the main group. As they caught me, a team quickly launched one on their own riders off the front. He got a pretty decent gap of about 50 yards, which he would hold all the way till the big climb, which has the finish line at the top. The group hit the turn to start the hill, and I was about 15 riders back from the front. It was time. I started hammering on the pedals and quickly passed a couple guys, when suddenly the guy in front of me just spun out and wrecked on some loose rock on the side of the road! I was pinned on both sides by another rider and the ditch, so, I only had once choice. Go right over the guy on the ground. And that's exactly what I did. I timed a little bunny hop and just ramped right off his rear wheel as his bike was laying down, and then glided right over his legs. Cleaned him, and never missed a beat! I continued my push up the long climb, overtaking even more riders. About 20 yards from the finish line, I let loose. I crushed on the pedals as hard as I could and blew away from everyone! The only person left in front of me was the solo rider that broke away right after I was caught on the dam. I gained on him and gained on him, but was running out of time. It ended up being just he and I at the finish line, and he ended up holding onto his lead by about a bike length. If i'd of just went on my attack about 5 seconds sooner..... But I took second! I was still extremely happy with this, especially after all the frustration that had built up during the criteriums earlier. I was also happy about not being involved in any bad crashes, and being able to roll right over the top of a crash!

That's the racing, but you're probably wondering why my spine is included in the title. Well, long story short I slipped a disc or pinched a nerve or something in my back yesterday, and I've basically become helpless. You may also notice it's 4:30 in the morning. That's because I'm unable to sleep because of my back. Racing today in Lawrence in the Spring Fling is probably a no-go now. I'm very upset and stressed because of this. I think i'm going to go to a chiropractor today. Also, i'm not sure about Sunday for the 2nd race of the Perry Dam series. I'd had hopes of winning the series, especially starting off with a 2nd place finish, but things are looking dim. I need to get my back figured out first. As of right now I can't even ride a bike.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Well it's been quite a while since I've made a post! But I'm back. Things have been going good in the cycling community. Garret got his Superfly WAY ahead of schedule. Cudos to trek/fisher for that one! He's pumped! I've been enjoying the break in the weather (if that's what you want to call it), but it looks like all that is about to change tomorrow. I just checked the forcast and it's not supposed to be above freezing for the next 4 or 5 days. Trainer time! I'm still looking forward to race season though. The 2010 schedule has been posted and it's looking full of all kinds of goodies. I'm looking forward to learning how to race in crits and tearing up some road races.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Great ride today with Bobby and Matt. About 2.25 hours of sweet pavement. We headed out of town east on 50 then headed south and went to hartford. Then from hartford we went back west and got on 99, then took 99 back into town. I got a chance to really put the hammer down on the Cronus. Man the thing flies! It's just a beautifully efficienct machine, to say the least.
Getting ready for a base miles pace ride with Bobby and Brown. Puting down some rice and sweet potatos for lunch. Top it off with a NOS maybe?!?!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Training & Fun

Quick post before I hit the hay. Got in a solid 3.5 hours in the saddle today! Outside! The maiden voyage of my Fisher was a fantastic one. The bike flies! The only downside was that I got it absolutely filthy with road grime, salt, and melting snow. It got a significant cleaning tonight, which will be continued tomorrow. I think i'll go on an easy recovery ride tomorrow because Matt and I have a road ride planned on wednesday.

Anyways, today's ride was 2 hours of endurance miles with 40 min. of Tempo thrown in there. I went to Hartford and back. Then when I got back I went on an easy ride with Anne Marie and a few new riders to the scene, Megan, and Carrie. It was a fun ride, but a bit chilly. The thermal bibs and the packable wind jacket are AWESOME. Especially the wind breaker. Afterwords I had a NOS to quench my thirst and took a solid nap. A good day in my book.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Training

Had a pretty good ride on the trainer today 2.25 hrs with some intervals and a little high intensity thrown in there. It's tough to sit on the trainer though for that long, so every once in a while I'd get off and run in place, do some push ups, leg lifts, bridges, etc., then hop back on the trainer. After the ride I got myself a NOS and headed down to the bike shop to see what was happening. It was a pretty normal day for the most part, except we got news that Shad, one of our teammates has a nasty fall and cracked his Superfly frame. He's alright though. Then I went down to the new bike shop which is a work in progress and helped Matt and Steph do some painting. Now it's an evening of relaxation and a night spent dreaming of warmer weather.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Here She Is.


First Post!

Well it looks like this is my first post of the year! This blog means a lot to me to be starting because it sybolizes the start of the 2010 cycling season, and a great partnership with Trek/Gary Fisher Bikes! Including Trek and Gary Fisher, i'd like to first of thank NOS Energy Drink, Planet Sub, Emporia Fitness, Oakley Sunglasses, IM Design, and last but not least, High Gear Cyclery and Fitness Inc. All these sponsors basically made our cycling dreams come true here in Emporia. 2010 means a brand new racing team here in Emporia and I feel very proud and fortunate to be a part of it. I'll be consistantly posting race results, training updates, and everything in between.

Things were kicked off with a bang when all our trek stuff came in on Tuesday! Including my Cronus! All I have to say is that i'm instantly in love with the bike. 14.8 lbs without pedals WHAT?!?! That's right, it's a sub 15 pounds bike. UNFORTUNATELY because of the cold and flat out dangerous temperatures outside and the massive snow accumulation, it hasn't seen the road yet. Although, it has seen several hours on the trainer already! Also, a lot of my clothing and my shoes came in. The RXL road shoes are unbelievably light and stiff. I'm so excited to get out on the pavement once the temps get a bit higher. Hopefully next week the air will be a bit warmer. I'm going to try and figure out how to get a picture posted and show you exactly what I mean when I say "Cronus". Thanks, and peace out.