Posts Tagged ‘ cycling ’

2012 – A Year in Pictures

January- First Marathon

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February- New Tri Bike for my birthday!

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March- First trip overseas to Spain.

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April- First Tri of the year. Turned to Duathlon.

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May- Please be Kind to Cyclists rally to support human life at the Texas Capital.

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June- First trip to Hawaii.

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July- Spent the month outdoors with friends.

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August- Celebrated 10 year anniversary with my amazing wife.

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September- Texas Aggies first SEC game versus Florida. (& met Herbie!)

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October- Met cycling legend Jens Voigt.

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November-  Texas Tri Series finishers party with Big Pistachio Racing Team!

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December- Neck deep in marathon training, but still enjoying the little things and important things in life.

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What Rabbit Ears? – Day 5

As each day progresses it’s a bit harder to get out of bed & climb on the bike knowing what lays ahead. I was a little anxious last night knowing the climb over Rabbit Ears pass awaited plus a full day in the saddle.
We were pleasantly greeted with temperatures in the mid 40’s. Unlike yesterday where very few rolled out early, I would say most folks left way early today. It was a fairly neutral 5 miles before heading into the pass. I know I’m fatigued because I can no longer read a map properly. I was under the assumption that the first rest stop was at mile 8 atop the first pass. Well it turns out the 2,500+ climb went until mile 14! Although it dragged on, I felt pretty solid upon reaching the top, but I was soaked with sweat. I was hopeful to beat my wife & kids to the top, but they had already passed on their way home.
So I headed out for the second part of Rabbit Ears Pass. And this is where it gets funny. I know the local Colorado readers will laugh heartily. See I assumed the two passes were the “rabbit ears.” So I texted my mother in law when I made the first ear. She responded what ear? Little did I know there was a rock formation at the top which were indeed the ears. When approaching it, I thought it looked like a great photo opp. Another rider asked if I wanted him to take my picture with the ears. I said “what do you mean? I thought the two passes were the ears?” It was the source of good chuckles from nearby riders.
All week we have enjoyed the climbs because of the amazing views and unreal descents. However today things were different. We started into a headwind on the descent off rabbit ears which didn’t end till mile 52 rest stop. I was in a serious pain cave during those 30 miles like most riders. About mile 45 someone had spray painted on the road “Live STRONG.” Wow. I had neglected to think about those who I was riding for. This was enough to lush me to the next rest stop.
We had logged over 300 miles and my body was really pissed at me. I began to really question my motives & driving force to be out here with the wind we were facing. I grabbed a snack & more water while overhearing other riders mention we were about to turn & get some relief from the wind. Ok I thought, if the wind isn’t in our face I can do this.
Not only was it not in out face, but we were blessed with a strong tailwind for a while. Not wanting to miss an opportunity, I pushed it. I was holding 25mph for quite a while & quasi enjoying life again.
We finished out the last stretches into Granby through a beautiful canyon & some rolling hills. But not before one last nasty little climb heading up to the school.
It was a relief to get in, and be done with the final long day. Now to mentally prepare for the final day of the tour with one last mountain climb. So here’s me & my angry body checking out, going to get some recovery food. Seeya in Georgetown tomorrow afternoon.

Reality Check: Day 2

As I suspected, sleeping in the gym was a little better last night. But still not great. Let’s just say I’m really looking forward to arriving in Steamboat for two reasons tomorrow. One, I get to see the wife & kids for a couple of days, an two I get to sleep in a hotel.
Today was a big reality check. Lots of adrenalin & endorphins carried most folks through a killer day one. So what did we get to do? Wake up & do it again. I awoke with a severe crick in my neck, so bad in fact I thought about not riding. But then I thought about my friend Jon Binsted who has battled cancer and decided to get on my bike. The weather was a better start at 41 degrees today, but a headwind for the 34 mile sustained climb to Leadville was not. Finding a good pace-line was definitely the name of the game this morning. I noticed a significant amount of bikes on the SAG vehicles today.
Of all the route destinations I was most excited about passing through Leadville. The endurance sport geek in me really played to that. Leadville is home to not only an epic endurance run, but also the fabled mountain bike race. Once I finally arrive I didn’t spend a whole lot of time in Leadville, really just enough time to fill my water & buy a shot glass. Then we were off to Tennessee Pass. Honestly it came & went without much fanfare. The decent however was pretty spectacular. Day two really belong to Battle Mountain. This climb was fairly easy to overlook on the map, but not in person. I kept thinking I was climbing something out of the Tour de France. Steep grade with absolutely amazing views. Fortunately for all, it was shorter in comparison to our other climbs. We were treated with our third high speed descent of the day.
The day stretched long as we passed through Minturn & Avon as we approached Edwards. It’s amazing what a headwind all day long can do to your spirits. Well I’m off to sleep on my little piece of the gym floor at Battle Mountain High School. Till tomorrow…

Bump, Set, Spike: A Recap of Day 1

Well, that was interesting. There is a lot of hype & lore surrounding the Ride the Rockies, and day one lived up to all of it. It was a challenge the night before to get some solid sleep in the inside gym, I was truly amazed at how many riders were up at 4 a.m. to get an early start. Especially considering we were greeted (albeit unwelcome) with sub-freezing temperatures. I waited around a bit until the sub came out & began my ride at 7 a.m. It was a very chilly downhill ride for the first 45 minutes or so until we reached the first rest stop. Much ado had been made about the breakfast that greeted riders each morning at the first rest stop. There were delicious breakfast tacos & coffee from a guy & his son all the way from Texas! Then the industrial pancake line. They were turning more flapjacks than IHOP.
We began a gradual ascent after the stop for about 20 miles. Not too painful & some beautiful scenery along the Taylor river & reservoir. One we hit the rest stop at mile 40, I knew it was game on. And by game on, I mean a legit Cat 1 climb up 14 miles of dirt road to the top of Cottonwood Pass (12,126 feet). I felt great for the first 10 miles. Some of my friends like to give me crap about my triple chain-ring on my bike. But it was made for days like today. I rocked that little ring happily all the way up. Which brings me to my only gripes of the day. There was a LOT of vehicular traffic on the dirt road. Apparently there are a lot of riders who thought themselves too important for their “personal sag wagons” to take an alternate route like instructed. The scariest part of the day was on a steep climb, and I came up to a group that was riding 4 abreast. I called out on the left, but not before the final rider almost forced me off the cliff. I gently scolded their riding 4 in the interest of safety, but they could care less. Another rider behind me saw it all & was amazed.
The final 6 miles up the mountain were a grueling ascent. There were a few times when I stopped to regroup my heart rate & questioned my sanity. The dirt on the last couple of miles was loose & the winds had started to pick up. I finally made it! I was ecstatic & relieved. I completed the hardest, longest & highest climb of my life. We were greeted with much fanfare, music & awesome food at the top. Being a Texan I gladly partook of a fajita taco. I took a few obligatory pictures at the conte rental divide sign & headed out for the 20 mile descent. Wow. Let’s just say I’ve never done anything quite like that either. What a rush coming down the mountain to locals cheering us on as we made our way downtown Buena Vista. So far I have been very impressed with the local & state support for the ride. Kudos Colorado, a job well done. I’ll see you in Edwards tomorrow.

The Final Countdown

In about 48 hours I will be close to beginning my climb of Cottonwood Pass at 12,126 feet above sea level.

I love the week, the days, the hours before a race or event. Laying out all of my gear to make sure everything is in order; the final check of my bike and other equipment to make sure it’s in top shape; calculating the hours to make sure I have enough nutrition and fluids. nutrition checkAnd yes, the waiting game, taper madness begins to take over. It’s more of a love/hate relationship that I have with this time period really. I get antsy thinking about the challenges ahead. It’s an excited nervous energy. My wife usually thinks I’ve lost my mind when I begin laying out all of my nutrition and clothing, but hey to do endurance events aren’t we all a little crazy to begin with? As I prepare for Ride the Rockies my mind won’t rest. This will be the first time that I’ve ever completed an event like this, heck I haven’t done anything close to this in the past! For me this is a rare opportunity. My father-in-law from Wyoming  affectionately calls me a ‘land lover from Texas’ due to our extremely low elevation. Am I ready for this? I think so, at least as much as I’m going to be at this point. I’m in for the whole gamut of what this incredible bike tour has to offer. I look forward to making more blog posts along the way as we traverse over 400 miles of scenic Colorado. So for now as I head off to pre-pack all of my gear again I sign off with these final thoughts- you never know what you’re capable of until you try. And as my good cycling friends like to say may the wind be at our backs and the sun on our faces… and keeping two wheels down.

I’ve been selected to be a guest blogger for the Denver Post (title sponsor of Ride the Rockies) along the way. I’ll be posting over at http://blogs.denverpost.com/ridetherockies so be sure to stop by each day and see what we’re up to.