Saturday, November 29, 2008

I learned something today

I seems that today's hipsters have some unique drinking tastes. My lil bro's favorite: Franzia box wine. He typically pulls them from their boxes and slams them like a keg stand. It's called 'fun bagging'. Hmmn - who'd a thunk it. But really - when you think about it, it's kinda smart. A 3-liter 'fun bag' is $8. Considering wine is at least twice the alcohol content of beer, it's quite a bargain for a college student.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fresh new goods

Our friends at Trek have kicked it up a few notches this year with some sweet new bikes. Check these out:
This is the 'district'. It's a hot looking, single speed, deep-dish-wheeled, BELT DRIVEN ride. What's cool about the belt drive? Well, there are no moving parts like in a standard chain which means it's very low maintenance and quiet. It's a relatively new technology that started down the road in Golden CO with the folks at Spot. Brian Smith, on the Trek team, rode one on our recent White Rim trip and said it was a killer technology - and silent.
Here's another cool one - the SoHo. Also a belt drive - BUT with an internal shifting hub! These are sweet b/c there's little maintenance and a wide gear range. Another cool feature I just noticed is the roller brake up front with a stylee high-flange hub. Trek is breaking the mold with these bikes. Hopefully we'll have a ride review soon. I even like the bike description. They call it an "Urban Assault Vehicle". Oh yeah - it looks comes with a insulated coffee cup too. AND there's a spare cage mount for one of these.
On the MTB side of things, here's a cool one. It's a cross-country full-squish called the EX9. Why do I like this when there are lighter carbon models? Well - I guess when it comes to MTBs, I'm akin to Aluminum. Aluminum is a light, shapable (check out how cool the top tube looks) material that works very well with a full suspension design. And Trek has tweaked this material over the years to get the best performance out of it. This is a mid-range model - and I like it! What do I like you ask? I like the frame design, solid component spec, and the style is top notch. Note how the headset spacers and seat collar match the fork's tubes. In your best Borat voice....Very Nice! I also dig the custom shocks that Fox made for Trek - both front and rear. I have yet to throw a leg over one, but I can bet it'd be a sweet ride around Colorado. With 130mm up front (read 5+") and 120mm in the rear, it would be sweet for an efficient climbing bike - with a not-too-much-travel-but-plenty-to-bomb-the-downhill fork.

All this bike makes me want to ride. It's time to hit the road - it's almost above the freezing mark here in Colorado!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Responsibility is an acquired taste.

When I was a college freshman, I started journaling a lot. It was a great way for me to develop and cope with the new freedoms of college. I drew pictures, wrote down song lyrics that hit home, and sometimes came up with pithy sayings like, "responsibility is an acquired taste."

That one idea in particular is something that I think about quite often. I consider responsibility to be like a zip tie - once you click it up a notch, it doesn't come back down. When you add pets, car payments, mortgage, health insurance, etc to your life, they will likely always be there. It's something you probably don't think much about these days, as you've acquired the taste. Sometimes, I have to admit, I think back to simpler times. Especially this week - my little brother Alex is coming in town for Turkey. He's a college frosh in NorCal and he's experience a little taste of the freedom and growth that college allows. He's doing a good job bucking responsibility like a rodeo bull with a big fat cowboy on its back. I know what that feels like, so I have to somehow have to relay my experience/pains/triumphs to this young lad in a compassionate manner. Alex is a fine fellow, I'm sure he'll do just fine. He can make his mistakes on his own - he doesn't need my help. Maybe I'll share some journals with him.

These days, blogs and the internet have taken over the journaling experience for me. It's kind of a shame, but it allows a whole different level of expression. Pictures, videos, links, and music are the new form of expression, but not a lot of it is unique to the individual. It's more about sharing what you think is cool. So today, I write for a little self-expression - and because I don't have a whole lot of compelling photos or videos to share;)

Well - I've got a few....

Jesse sent me a trailer for the new Props video:

This could come in handy when riding the rollers this winter. There's nothing like watching people ride bikes while you're riding a bike, training so that you can ride a bike better.

You're probably wondering what the hell is up with the image at the top of this post. Well you see...Jackie and I have a new business idea that we've been playing with over the years. She's an incredible baker and I kinda like bicycles. So we are combining our dreams to plan up a natural bakery/bike shop. For those of you that don't know her too well, Jackie is rather feisty (in the best meaning of the word), she loves animals, and 'Jack' is the name that she prefers to be called. So this business will have it all - the best bakery in Colorado, a sweet bike studio, BEER, and maybe even a petting zoo where people can pet themselves a goat or two. And goats are a rather feisty creature, so we thought that would make the most sense for our logo. The one above is one of our favorites. There are a bunch more submitted here:

(This is a really cool site BTW - you can create contests for logos, ads, t-shirts and you pay the winner a fee that you determine yourself. And you only pay if you select one that you really like.)
I've been building up a bike for the Winter Ralleye. I'm getting really excited about it. It's a ride that I haven't done before and in my imagination it sounds like a killer time: cold, carharts, work boots, and a nip of booze here and there. So here's the bike I plan to ride...
It's a single speed road bike. The only thing I had to buy for it was the flask cage - everything else was in the archives. I tried to set it up without a chain tensioner, but the chain ring was far from round and the chain had one very loose spot and one very tight spot. It's not the prettiest set up, but hopefully it'll save my freehub.
Not a whole lot of clearance with these 28's! Hope there's no snow on the ride. (yes - I will put on brakes soon)
The coolest part of the bike: my Ahearne Flask Cage. Don't worry Mom, I'm only going to put chocolate milk in it.

And one more photo...
I hit the trails rather late in the day yesterday. I can't believe it's DARK at 5pm! This is always a nice part of the ride: the 1st downhill at Hall Ranch. It's actually 1000' up from Lyons. A ride at dusk is prime time for Mt Lions, but I have not seen any yet! Maybe I should ride a bit slower.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

sage wisdom

A wise man (or woman) once said, "Do something that scares you every day." I took that lesson to heart today - twice.

My neighbor, Tim, is all into dirt jumping. He used to do a lot of XC riding, but now he's 'evolved'. He has a spare dirt jumper, so we hit some trails near Boulder. But these were not the rhythm section, pump track, and table tops I was expecting. These were big jumps and drops! I had to set a goal early on and make sure I came through with it before we left....which was this drop....
This was about a 5' drop and it was rather intimidating looking down from the top. The transition was smooth and I was psyched to pull it off.
Here's Tim jumping the same spot (from a different angle and with a lot more style). In no time, I'll be signing up for the Rampage.

I then joined Boulder Benny for a couple Giddy Ups at The Sink - the only bar I've ever been to with Mighty Arrow and Giddy Up on tap! Gotta watch those low ceilings though - I had my head tilted to the side all night.

Then it was on to MURS at the Fox. Like most hip hop shows, there were a bunch of openers. But it was cool, the energy just kept building. When Murs took the stage, he had a big smile on his face. He was very happy to be there and it was the last show of the tour - and I know how good that feels!
The groups invited up all the ladies in the house quite often. It was funny to see so many white girls with no rhythm on stage, shaking it with rappers from LA, Chicago, and NYC. Well...there was one African American - but for some reason she didn't get much love. Jesse pointed out that the ration 15:1 was about right for Boulder.

Oh yeah - I did one other thing that scared the hell out of me - even more than dirt jumping. I took my fixie to Boulder to I could ride to and from the show. I didn't realize that 9th St leading down towards Pearl was such a big hill. You see, on a fixed gear - with no brakes - on a steep hill, it's very scary. I knew not to go into it too fast since I can't stop quickly, so I put a lot of resistance on the pedals. But I kept speeding up! And there's nothing I could do. I couldn't jump off. I couldn't put a foot on the tire to slow down (my legs had to keep spinning). I couldn't turn off. I just had to ride it out. And thank goodness....I made it down unscathed. I have no idea how the messengers do it in San Fran without brakes on fixies. More power to them - I'm putting on a brake next time I do a fixie ride in the hills!

On the way back to the car, I passed a fleet of Garmin Chipotle vehicles. They were parked for their team unveiling party. Boulder's a crazy place to be when the training camp is going on. There are gaggles of Tour De France pros riding all over the area. Lawyer Eric and I hit Carter Lake earlier in the day to intercept them - but to no avail. We did get in a nice Carter Lake loop in record time. It's a ride I never do in the summer, but it's when the temps drop.

So's time to bag some leaves and take the dogs for a swim....and maybe something else a little scary;)

Thursday, November 20, 2008


It's a cold gray day today. After some work on the magic box, Jackie and I hit the road for some errands. Nothing fun. Nothing fun at all. But it was nice being with lil miss Jack and it helped me appreciate what she does to hold down the homefort.

Prior today, this week has been awesome. Check out some happenings:
Jackie hit the roadbike with me a couple of times this week. She was decked out in her "jewel thief" outfit: black bike, black helmet, black tights, black jacket, and black shoes. You never know when you might need rob a jewelry store - and Jackie's always ready for anything.
Here's a photo of one of my favorite wooden bridges - and behind that, one of my favorite spots for tempo hill riding.
Here's a cool new BlackSheep bike design. Ready for some bike speak? It has 4" of rear travel, a pivotless frame, chainstays that overlap in the middle so you can tighten the chain, this also means that it can come a part which would be useful if you ever wanted to run a belt drive set up - or pack it up in a Break-Away box. It's like a swiss army knife...or at least one of those tranformers that can be a robot, car, or rhinocerous.
Speaking of BlackSheep - they're promoting a winter RallEye series. I'm there next time around - which is December 7th.
And speaking of bikes, I spotted a Tony Hawk bike line at Target. WTF? Have you ever seen Tony ride a bike? I haven't. Next up will be Tony Hawk rollerblades. Come on dude. You gotta leave us SOMETHING. You already own the skateboard industry.
...and more about bikes - or at least bike rides. I stopped to smell the roses yesterday and this deer paid me a visit. Click the photo to check him out. I'm no hunter, but I think he's a 10 point buck - or something like that.
...and speaking of bikes - or at least bike riders....I must have spent too much time with Jesse Swift, as I unearthed my box of GI Joes to bring back the memories. Funny how small they look now in my full-size hands.

...and speaking more about bikes and youthful pleasures...for all of you Guitar Hero fans and bike riders. Check out the above video. Pay attention to the blinking lights on the bars. Very nice work fellers.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Like no place on earth

Utah's White Rim Trail. What can I say, I developed roots in the state of TX and didn't know much about the White Rim Trail until recently. But now that I know, it'll be a MUST-DO ride every year. The experience was simply amazing. Pictures speak way louder than words, but pictures don't even come close to capturing the scenery/scale/amazing world of Canyonlands National Park.

Mr. Swift and I headed up early on Friday so that we could hit some trails in Fruita. He wanted to show me Rabbit Valley - where a Mountain States Cup XC race is held. We got to the trail just as a bunch of 4-wheelers were finishing - we even saw them carrying some handguns. It was good timing. We didn't want to get in the way of their rabbit target practice. I mean really - what did they need handguns for on a 4-wheeler ride?
We didn't ride the trail we were hoping to - it was just over this ridge. Jesse was bumming about missing this trail, but it gave us some great practice riding sand for the next day's adventure.
We rolled into Moab, found our lodging, met up with Little Colin, made our dinner, and fell asleep. The next thing I knew, the 4:15am alarm was going off and we were on the road. We met up with about 2 dozen other riders for our single-day loop on the West Rim Trail.

I got out of the truck, lubed my chain, then realized I had to poop. There were no portos at the parking lot so I had to bushwack through the desert. I return to the truck and see everybody leaving! I was left behind. This was not a ride where folks were casually waiting around. 108 miles of dirt was serious. My heart started beating out of my chest (not the best feeling) and I moved in fast forward to get my chit together. I headed out on trail and made a quick look back to see if I left anything. And...the interior light was on - so I rode back, opened my pack, unlocked the car, turned off the light, then hit the road - completely darkness...with blind faith that I'd meet up with the other riders. That'll teach me to be on time. Geez.
Luckily, it only took me a few minutes to charge back to the group. I was wearing my perscription spectacles which have a pretty dark tint. I couldn't see anything on the road and I just hoped that I wouldn't hit a rock or a big patch of sand. The ride starts with a 45 minute gradual descent - so I was rolling fast.
The 1st stop of the day. Some of the group looks over our bikes and prepares to get down to business.
Next was this nice little downhill into the valley. Nothing like a 1500' drop in about 1 minute.
In the valley, we hit some deep sand. There was a big 'pig pin' cloud of dust surrounding us. Good thing we had some practice the day before at Rabbit Valley!
Yep - there were some incredible views. I didn't want to get TOO close ;)
Here's Parker Macy - a Longmont local who I met for the 1st time. Crazy that it takes a ride like this, in another state, to meet my neighbors.
Not much to see here folks. Seriously though - it was like a 10 hour movie backdrop. It was so entertaining just to look out and see this all day.
Here's the man of the hour, Brian Smith. He put this ride together as a birthday tradition years ago. What a way to celebrate the day! He rocked the trail on a 29'er SS...and so did his wife Jenny...and so did a 58 year old feller from Crested Butte. The ride was one of those experiences that opens your mind to what is possible. It was the longest dirt ride I'd ever done.
Just another day at the office.
Little Colin - keeping it entertaining at about mile 75.
We were told there was a big climb at the end and it was recommended that we take some supplements before the last push. I learned about Sierra Nevada's Bierschnapps today. You learn something every day.
This is probably the best place in the world to drink Bierschnapps.
Jesse approaches a big wall. Our cars are on top of that wall.
And here's the mile 96. Jesse's checking it out to see what we just came up. Go ahead a click on this photo and see if you can follow the trail - UP.
I have to say I was very pleased to have this ride under my belt. It was time for a beer...or three.

The next day, Jesse and I headed back to Fruita for a little fun before returning back to 'normal' life on the Front Range.
Kessel Run was a must. I did my best to do it in under 12 parsecs. I rode it fast, but I had nothing on the Millennium Falcon.
Speaking of space-mobiles. We spotted this at the trail head. I've never seen one like this before - pretty sweet though - esp if that panel on top was solar.
The 18 road trails are A LOT different than the White Rim - but a great time nonetheless. It was a great ride to wrap up a killer weekend of riding. I felt so fortunate to not only have the health to ride these trails, but even more fortunate to have the perspective to enjoy the experience.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A visit to the mothership

Jackie and I headed up to FtC yesterday for a meeting of the minds. Doing business over margaritas and fajitas are a great way to start the season. We presented them with a large collage of photos and 2008 UAR memorabilia. Hopefully you'll see it up at the brewery soon. Lots of cool memories there for sure.

Before we left, we were presented with a large bevy of beer for the cold winter nights. And I found this little surprise inside a case...
The famous Fat Tire label has been modified to celebrate the winter on 2009. The snow on top of the bike reminds me of the time I rode my Sanchez home from the bar and forgot to bring it inside. Stevil was not very happy with me for that one. "Fixies don't grow on trees", he told me. Lesson learned.
No snow YET in the Front Range of Colorado. It'll come soon enough. Today, I'll hit the hills of Boulder for some training before the BIG DAY on Saturday. a Dirt Century - plus some. I'm bringing over a gallon of water, sandwiches, a double chammy, and my game face. Hopefully Feisty Jack will do some baking for the trip too.

And speaking of beer (we were talking about beer, right?) I just can't get enough of Giddy Up. It's perfect after a ride. It's like NBB's version of Red Bull and Vodka.

Monday, November 10, 2008

this way and that

Not a whole lot to report this day. I rode my bicycle on the road. I rode it here and there, this way and that way. I saw some art, I scared some birds. I wish I rode in the PDX Single Speed Cyclocross Championships instead. I see they had a foam machine. I love foam machines.

Courtesy - Mr Jason Sager

Stevil Kinevil was there - lucky duck. He wrote me about it says he thinks he 'got pink eye from a stripper pole'. Sounds like Portland was living up to its reputation. Rest assured, the SSCXWC will be on my calendar for 2008

But I did enjoy my new road bike. I feel sorry for this 'Scott' fellow. He must miss his bike. It sure is smooth. In fact, when I ride it I feel like Beavis when he cut off the hair on his head and glued it to his face. I say it to my bike all the time.
We rode south today. Not much to see. Just the road.
Then I made a turn and saw more of the same.
Then we hit the dirt and I broke in the bike for the 1st time. A little rock even hit my down tube. And I cursed that damn rock. But now, this bike is broken in and it feels like MY bike.
Then we headed back home.
On the way home. I saw this sub-division and I asked myself, 'what would make a person want to live here?'. I mean really. Apparently there are many folks that have decided - 'forget cool, old, historic houses. Never mind living in a place with easy access to a food store or a general store for that matter. No - I want to live out in the middle of nowhere - but not alone. I'd like to be surrounded by about 3 dozens houses that look exactly like my house. And I want my direct neighbors to be so close that I can touch them from my kitchen window. Oh yeah...and there needs to be a water tower too. Yeah. That's for me. I GOTTA have that!'

Here are some birds that must not like to be spoken to like crows.
I stopped by Sandstone Ranch. One very cool park with everything for everybody. The skate/BMX park was empty, so I checked it out. Here's one of their bowls. It's really sweet, but to me this is like looking down the barrel of a gun. Maybe in another life.
And there was this really cool piece of art. Not sure what the rings are for. It'd be cool if this was a bike rack. It kinda reminds me of the SlimeBalls logo...
So yeah. That's about it. I did some work this am, I rode my bike. I learned how to overhaul a Maverick DUC fork, I drank a couple Pipeline Porters. Now it's time to see 88 minutes. Wednesday is a big day. We'll determine the dates and locations for 11 Urban Assault Rides in 2009. I better get my fun in now, right?

Oh...and the White Rim ride is just a few days away.