Saturday, April 30, 2005


At a shade under 3hr40min, Kahuna is off the bike and into the run. No
word about transition times, but Kahuna looks to be having a great
race so far. No word on Robo Stu yet.

Keep at it guys!

A little birdie told me...

that Kahuna was out of the water at Wildflower in just a shade over a
half hour. WAY TO GO KAHUNA!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

A Picture Share!

A Picture Share!

A continuing collection of faces Brian makes while bored in meetings

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

A Picture Share!

A Picture Share!

This meeting will never end it seems... or maybe not. I Wanna Go Home!

The strange dream of the morning...

this morning, just before waking up I was suddenly dreaming about a
half ironman race. Apparently, my friend Russ and I were running late
to the race entry area and there was only 2:30 before the race
started. I had a backpack that was stuffed with my wetsuit and for
some reason cycling clothes and when I went to grab my wetsuit to find
it before the race I didn't know if it was actually in the backpack
because the bag was too lite. As I'm pulling out my cycling clothes
I'm discovering that they're absolutely sopping wet (maybe because my
shoes were still soaked from Sunday's ride when I left for the ride to
church yesterday night)

I woke up as the clock got ready to buzz. But I remember that as we
were walking towards the race area, I was chastising Russ for not
having adequately trained and not being ready for the 112 mile bike
ride (which I said even though I knew it was a half in my head).
Apparently the furthest he had gone was 20 miles, but he was
stretching and bouncing around getting ready to race.

It probably didn't mean anything, but it sure was strange. I VERY
rarely dream about triathlon so it stuck in my head a little bit.
Anyway, off to work. I've got a big print job to run and then at 11 we
have an inservice that's scheduled for the rest of the day. How
exciting (not).

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Creative insult of the day..

overheard while riding downtown to church...

"Way to block traffic you stupid, silly F%$*!"
- From a passenger leaning out the window to let me know what he
thought of my riding as close to the curb as I could

The sad tale of why my road bike is in the shop...

Commodore asked where my road bike was... here's the story.

A couple of months ago I was in a hurry to grab my bike and head off
for the Tuesday ride downtown to church and asked Ang to grab my bike.
In trying to maneuver the bikes around on our porch (never an easy
task) my road bike got tipped over. I thought at the time that the
only thing that happened in the tip was that my water cage that hangs
behind my seat was broken, but I guess at the same time the derailleur
hanger was bent.

A bent derailleur hanger will throw all of your shifting askew and I
noticed that my chain didn't like being in certain rear gears while in
my small ring up front. So, instead of dealing with it, I just ignored
the gears and spent more time in my big chain ring.

A week ago Sunday, trying to make sure Angela was ready to ride the
next night, we were across the street from our apartment riding around
the parking lot of the prep school. I decided that even though the
chain was skipping, I'd go into the gear anyway and ignore it. Well,
one of the the things a bent derailleur hanger will do is throw off
the adjustments that keep your chain from riding up over the last gear
and into your spokes. I discovered the hanger was bent when that exact
thing happened. All of a sudden, "CRUNCH!" and my bike came to a halt
and dangling like a tightrope walker was my derailleur hanging onto
the chain.

It's still at the local shop while the owner tries to find a Fuji
hanger. None of the other stores in town have one in stock so I
figured I'd let him try and figure it out. In the meantime, I'm
borrowing a friends Specialized, which while not being the same AT ALL
is also a bit big for me. I feel a little more stretched out than I'd
like. It's a nice bike though... just not MY bike.

So say your prayers for "I can't believe it's not Buttah!" that she'll
be back in the saddle again very soon.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Saturday's ride

Two completely different days of riding... but then, isn't that par for the course here in Colorado Springs? Saturday when we left the apartment, it was hovering around 40, but it was early. By the time we had climbed into Monument, depending on which direction you faced it was 20 degrees warmer. After making a stop at the office, we couldn't quite decide whether to shed the layers or not. While we were being indecisive I snapped a shot of Mt. Herman.

Looking out my office window during the week, this is basically the view I have. A huge blob of a mountain on the horizon with a scar climbing the side. That scar was the road we were going to take up.

My friend Russ and I have been talking about riding up Mount Herman and across Rampart Range Rd from Monument to Garden of the Gods for quite a while now. The hard part to the ride is climbing Mt Herman. Once you're up at the top, it's BASICALLY flat cutting south towards Garden of the Gods. In any case, whenever we talk about doing the ride, something always seems to come up. We never got to it last season and decided to do it this weekend because my poor baby of a road bike was (and still is) in the shop getting her rear derailleur hanger replaced. I snapped it last Sunday and it seems that no one in Colorado Springs has a Fuji derailleur hanger in stock.

After our stop at the office to retrieve my camera memory card we hustled over to the entrance to Pike National Forest.

13 miles of climbing... something a fat man was probably never meant to do. When you turn onto the road you start to slowly climb towards the mountain. It's probably 5 miles to Herman from the office so the first 3 miles of pavement warm you up for the ascent. After a few miles, the pavement turns to dirt and you begin the ascent. The thing that struck me the most the first time I drove up the mountain was how high you are when you hit the dirt. Catching my breath, I took this panorama. (click the links for bigger pictures)

When I climb, I'm a bit like an overloaded Pinto. I've got the power to get up the hill (maybe), but my engine(heart) tends to overheat and I have to give it a few seconds to catch up. Let's take one of those pauses now and I'll describe to you what Mt. Herman road is like.

Mt. Herman road is an unmaintained fire road. Being unmaintained, if you're going to drive up it you need to make sure you have a vehicle with adequate clearance. Embedded in the road are fairly large boulders that don't appear in any particular order. When it rains, there are giant ruts that get carved into the road. We were lucky in that the road was actually in pretty good shape today, but that doesn't mean that the boulder and copious amounts of loose gravel go anywhere. I think my heart rate is down, back to pedaling.

I know the road doesn't look very bad here, but trust me this is a good part. The thing that's weird about the road is that it gets quite a bit better as you get further up it...

Once you climb the front part of Herman, you wind around and start climbing the back side of Herman. As you turn the corner, you're exposed to a GORGEOUS canyon. It makes me nervous to look down the canyon while I'm driving, but on the bike it wasn't so bad. You can see the road curving around the mountain on the left.

Here's another view...

Miles go by as each switchback lures the hopes of a climax to the surface only to have them dashed by seeing the road continuing to climb. If the climb is hard it has mostly to do with the numerous switchbacks that consistently show up. About 10 miles into the ascent after hitting a downhill and thinking I had hit the summit I turned a corner and started uphill again into... SNOW. At this point we (Russell was up ahead of me) somewhere above 9000'. We had seen snow coming up the mountain, but it was always hiding in the shadows of the pine trees. What wasn't expected was to turn a corner and have the snow covering the roads. What also wasn't expected was how deep it was going to be. I had to dismount and of course, having road cleats, my Speedplays were almost immediately caked in snow. When I reached Russ, who had stopped to wait for me and decide what to I found an open patch of gravel and realized that I was pushing the gravel into the slush in my cleats making them even more unclickable. plastic shoes don't work very well for pedaling on my Speedplays. The Speedplays are so small that when you go to pedal without being clicked in your foot inevitably slides off... not good when you're riding through snow with a big drop off just off the side of the road.

Here you can see that the snow was deep enough to hold bikes vertical without anyone holding on. Quite a feat for late April. That's Russell next to his steed.

I sat down and proceeded to try and clean my cleats out. I had a bit of a nice view to look at while I was cleaning

but it wasn't so nice when I dropped my multitool and it slid off the side of the road. Thankfully it didn't slide very far, but as I tried to follow it on my butt, I felt lots of gravel sliding around and me and had visions of "Touching the Void" erroneously rushing through my head. I wasn't in any sort of peril (except for all the sliding gravel and fairly steep descent (which unfortunately you can't see in the picture)) but for whatever reason my mind jumps to the worst possible scenario... and I mean , C'mon! Why would my mind compare a little gravel to a guy sliding off a mountain into an ice cavern? I pushed the thought of the movie out of my head and retrieved my multitool, positioning each foot on boulders and contracting my legs until I could reach it. The only thing I was a bit paranoid about was turning around and climbing out of the gravel that seemed to be sliding everywhere.

The moral of the story is to either not ride in snow and have to clean your cleats, or to wear mountain cleats on a mountain bike (though it can't be that because I don't have any money for two sets of cleats.) Or to just leave the multitool be for some other poor sap who wants to shimmy their tuckus off the side of the road. I'm guessing it's the third.

After the cleat mishap we decided to just got down Mt. Herman instead of continuing to climb and not knowing what the roads were going to be like. We quickly turned around and began our descent. As quickly as our descent began it stopped because we turned a corner and Pikes Peak came into view. If there's one thing I love about Colorado (and there are of course, more than one) it's the views. This one was no exception to that rule.

The pain with the multi-mile descent (on gravel) is that your hands cramp up almost immediately from riding the brakes. But it you DON'T ride the breaks, you're liable to have your wheels slide out from under you and shoot you off the side of the road. It would be a bit more fun to just dive bomb the road, but you also have to keep in mind the missing chunks of road and boulders. I'm surprised I didn't wipe out on the way down. There was more than one boulder I went over, sending my hard tail vibrating down the road and jarring my entire body. It was oh so fun. When we hit the pavement on the way down I took my hands off the bars and coasted (at 25mph) down the hill drinking my gatorade. Being stupid, I neglected to observe the six inch deep two foot long pothole until my wheel was getting ready to intersect. My hands dove to the bars and I was able to semi-jump it. My front wheel skipped over it, but my back wheel sent a jarring jolt through the rest of my body.

Brian, you ask... did the hot tub feel good when you finally arrived back at the apartment 40 miles later? I answer... "why yes... it did". Meanwhile, Ang looks over my shoulder and wonders how I could write such a pompous sounding paragraph. She also wonder why I'm still blogging instead of helping her clean, so I'm going to wrap this up now and add a bit more later.