Monday, June 30, 2008

Winter Park #1: June 14, 2008

A few (belated) photos from the Winter Park Hill Climb on 6/14/2008.

Blue Sky Velo sweeps Beginner Men 45-49! Roger Hughes (1st - left above), Howard Sohm (2nd - middle above), Phil Murray (3rd - right above). Phil obviously didn't meet the BSV Beginner Men minimum height requirement, but we let him race anyway :^)

Action shots of Roger Hughes (top), Howard Sohm (middle), and Phil Murray (bottom).

Susan Prieto (top) and Jessica Madden (bottom) get it done.

Ron Dreasher hammers to the finish.

Swag Recipients

One goal of the BOD each year is to reward those members who are participating above and beyond the normal expectation. We ask sponsors to help in rewarding these members, and at this time the BOD is excited to honor the following people. Keep up the good work everyone!

(in the words of Club Captain Michelle Vercellino)

Susan Linroth

LT Testing Session compliments of Boulder Performance Lab
"Sue is one of our newest members, but she represents the spirit of what the club is all about. She participates all the time and has such an awesome club attitude."

Melissa Calkins

Massage or Acupuncture Treatment compliments of Jade Mountain Health
"Melissa, thanks so much for stepping it up during our spring and summer seasons to get folks rallied on their bikes and out having a great time."

Isaac & Jenna Dancy

Sunglasses compliments of Giro
"I am treating you as one functioning unit even though you are 2 separate people. Between the two of you, you guys kept the club rides coming all through the winter and spring season for '08. This was an incredible effort by both of you and thanks so much again. You guys can fight over who gets to wear the glasses on certain rides."

(in the words of 'Cross Captain Dan Farrell)

"I'm happy to report BSV has a bit of swag to distribute amongst the members of the cross team that truly represented the kick*ss spirit of BSV CX last season.

Each of you brought something different to the team whether it was mad cowbell skills, great volunteer spirit, dedication to racing the full season, etc."

Dave Kilmoyer

Sunglasses compliments of Giro

Ron Dreasher

Massage or Acupuncture Treatment compliments of Jade Mountain Health

Susan Prieto

LT Testing Session compliments of Boulder Performance Lab

Mountain Biking
(in the words of MTB Captain Darrin Sharp)

Chris Madden

Sunglasses compliments of Giro
"Chris and his wife Jessica are new members of Blue Sky Velo. In addition to being an avid cyclist, Chris is also an MD. He generously volunteered to share his knowledge via a 'Mountain Bike Injuries' presentation to other team members."

John Perry

Massage or Acupuncture Treatment compliments of Jade Mountain Health
"John is a tireless trail worker. He has been involved in many trail work projects, and is even a certified Trail Maintenance Leader. John has also volunteered to lead a number of mountain bike group rides."

Cindy Vanover

LT Testing Session compliments of Boulder Performance Lab
"Cindy has served the BSV mtb community by volunteering as BSV VP for the 2007 season. She is also an avid racer, competing in 10 MTB races for the 2007 season (including 5 out of 6 of the Winter Park Series). In addition, she recently stepped up and volunteered to lead a couple of women's only mtb rides."

(in the words of Triathlon Captain Kelly Dykema)

Dave Rohatch

LT Testing Session compliments of Boulder Performance Lab
"Dave has really put a lot of effort into being positive and getting out there racing in Blue Sky clothing even though the tri gear is not completely ready (he ran in his bike jersey). He is always positive toward everyone who is racing is looking forward to training for an Ironman. I love his attitude for encouragement of new triathletes and racing in general (not a 'tri-snob')."

Tamara Gaffney

Massage or Acupunture Treatment compliments of Jade Mountain Health
"She is always willing to help me doing research on clothing, races, and just about anything else I ask her to do. She gets the most enthusiastic newer triathlete award and is really trying hard to come back from injury last year. She is always wearing the Blue Sky clothing proudly and I see her being a continual asset to the growth of the club."

James Dykema

Sunglasses compliments of Giro
"James is the most supportive teammate one could find. Even if he is racing, he is bike mechanic for all the teammates out at the races, photographer, child caregiver and all around support crew. He is constantly in his Blue Sky clothing and very proud of the club as a whole. In addition, his racing this year has been stellar!! He knocked over 2 minutes off his Bolder Boulder time (41:30), 3rd overall at the Fort Collins Triathlon, 2nd in his age at Longmont Tri and is placing in every running race he enters."

(in the words of Road Captain Kevin Abraham)

"I have been asked to come up with 3 deserving individuals from the Road Team who are in desperate need of some swag. YOU ARE THOSE THREE INDIVIDUALS! This decision was made based upon your results, improvement, leadership, etc in your respective categories 3s, 4s and 35/4s."

** Note: The prizes haven't been divvied up so these individuals will be greased up and mud-wrestle for the prizes at the next team BBQ.

Mike Dancel

Mike has been pulling double-duty racing 35/4s and 4s while making the drive from Colorado Springs on a regular basis. At the Colorado Springs weekend in April, Mike graciously hosted an awesome dinner for all the Blue Sky racers. Mike will also be racing track later in the season.

Horacio Gutierrez

Ho' is by far the most improved racer on the road team. He attended all of the clinics and is really going out and getting 'er done in the 35/4s. Once a criterium-fearing man, now Horacio holds his own in massive field sprints like Wheels of Thunder.

Barry Schmidt

Barry has been racing at a very high level this year, winning the Deer Trail Road Race in April and rocking the Gila with a 2nd and 5th on individual stages and 10th overall. Barry is currently top 10 in the SM3 BAR and is likely to improve on that as the climbers crawl back into their emaciated skins during the criteriums of late summer.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Long Haul

Newspaper photographers just can't resist my cherub face and juicy kit!

Stage 1
The Anatomy of a Crack

(No Barry, not that crack)

After close to a combined 18 days away from home on bike-racing-related pilgrimages, Barry and I decide to get up pre-dawn on Saturday and make the day-of drive to the Dead Dog. I pour out a little of my coffee for Jose, our fallen comrade out with back trouble. 2 hours after leaving Loveland we are picking up our packets for an extra $10 fee and enjoying the fruits of the third spot in the lot. Knowing what was in store for us later, I look around and realize this is what the lot will look like when the Cat 3s finish -- everyone will have come, raced, and be gone in the time it takes us to trudge 86 miles through the Snowy Range.

The race starts and Barry performs the patented moving piss. I'm very proud, Barry! The rest of the 3s just stop and do their business, but Blue Sky shows them how the real men roll -- literally. Finally rid of the water weight, Barry -- he of the "I haven't really ridden for the last three weeks", where have I heard that before Jeremy? -- launches a move and quickly gains 5 minutes with a group of 5.

The 15-mile climb starts and the 3s hit it HARD. There is clearly no tomorrow for this bunch. There's nothing I can do but hang on for dear life and mutter the 7-words-you-can't-say-on-TV in my head (RIP George Carlin). The first 5 minutes of climbing (with roughly 2 hours more to go) was the third hardest 5-minute effort for me this year, and this was at 8,000+ feet elevation.

After a brief descent I hope that is out of everyone's system, but NO, we hit it again. 4 minutes later I'm OTB and wishing Jenna were here to take me home. As I drift backward I get a bird's eye view of the peloton exploding into smitherings. I find a group of 3 VCs and we start working together with maybe 15 guys + 5 breakaways up the road.

For the next hour we motor along somewhere between tempo and threshold, but as we near the top the pace is relentless and I become unglued. There are some rollers at the top, however, and I absolutely SELL MY SOUL to make it back to my group before the descent begins. My effort is one roller too soon however, and I come undone for good and there's nothing any angel or demon can do for me now. I begin the descent in a solemn silence knowing all this downhill is for naught and I will simply pull a U-ey at the bottom.

The second 15-mile climb begins and at first I feel good -- stickin' it to my companions just like last year. This year was not to be. I am cracked. Mentally done. Knees complaining. The Powertap is projecting a lonely stare upward as if to say, "Really Dancy, this is all you got?"

Well -- sadly -- the answer is "yes"; that's all I've got and my deficit is just rolling up like an Irishman's bar tab on St. Patrick's Day. I cut my lonely furough through the Snowy Range with no end in sight. I'm totally cracked and I'm only just past halfway done. I crest the top around 56 miles and take a minute to think about all the other races today (minus P/1/2) that only totalled that amount. I start to count down the miles. Literally, every damn one ... 30 ... 29 ... 28 ... 27 ... 26 ...

Before passing through Centennial, I am caught from behind (oh behave!) by 2 other riders, and this couldn't be at a better time as I don't want to ride in the headwind by myself. I coordinate a paceline as best I can -- I suppose we did ok but I am constantly aghast at how Cat 3s can ride their bikes so much and still not be all that smooth in a paceline. I steal a couple extra rests as one rider always likes to come alongside me to battle for the other's wheel. I just leave a little gap and before I know it I'm at the back again.

In 2007 my worst 11 miles on a bike were on the final leg of this race into a headwind that made 12mph feel like your head was in a buzzsaw. Thankfully, that dreaded stretch is greeted with a fair tailwind and it flies by. Resigned to my overall placing and massive time lost, I do my best to keep spirits high in my little survival group; doing my best to keep aggression in the finale to a minimum. We come to the line and I'm just happy to be done. And once again, the parking lot is empty and I'm starting to seriously doubt if any other categories race besides P/1/2 and SM3.

Barry 24th at +17', Isaac 30th at +26'

The Aftermath

Barry and I strike it gold and discover one of the hidden gems of Laramie dining, the Altitude Chophouse & Brewery. Barry leans back a couple Tumblewheats and I stick to High Plains Pale Ale. We devour wontons, salmon, and whatever pasta is placed in front of us.

We return to the hotel and promptly hit the deck at about 6:15pm. Barry wrestles himself up briefly to change brakepads, but ultimately we are down for the count until 7am the next morning. That's right Kevin, 12-13 hours of sleep, that's what, your total for this week?

Stage 2
A Half-Speed Criterium

OK, the criterium wasn't that slow, but it does answer the question of what happens when 45 guys toe the line at a criterium and have no other ambition than to get the hell outta there. Sure, we rolled a 26mph average but it feels tame and a team of 2 CSU guys manage to have their way with the skinny minnies. I'm unwilling to reprise my executioner role a la Tulsa Tough, but it's still probably a good thing no one was there to witness my disinterest. Barry, however, puts some polish onto his training weekend by taking 7th!

However, the legs start to turn toward the end, and with only a 90-minute break between criterium and time trial, I finish the criterium absolutely primed to bring THOT in Stage 3.

Stage 3
The Hammer of Tulsa

Hunter Allen talks about maintaining a positive mantra during time trials to drive your tempo and your breathing. Well, I am the opposite. It's nothing but negative vibes Moriarty! But when the legs are firing, it feels good in a secretively deviant kind of way.

I coolly roll off the line while maintaining a conversation with Jenna's old collegiate coach. On these fast downhill sections I maintain 31.5 mph to the turnaround 5.1 miles away in less than 10 minutes. I pass my 30-second and 1-minute men while chewing on the most negative thoughts possible.

I make the turn and launch into the uphill, though after such a fast opening stretch it feels miserable. I make my unofficial time checks on my 2 companions from yesterday. I'm up. I'm up big. But whatever I've gained on the downhill can be easily lost on the uphill to the finish. It's time to bring the Hammer of Tulsa.

(And yes, I do briefly share a private joke with myself about how ridiculous it is for me to be making unofficial time checks on guys in 28th and 29th in the overall. With my results this year I guess I'll take the small victories, but decide it's probably not worth a double-posted victory salute on the line.)

I'm holding my threshold on the uphills and tag my third catch, either my 90- or 120-second man. The finish comes faster than expected and I'm across the line in 24:13, about 1-minute faster than 2007 -- though the wind-free conditions of 2008 had something to do with that.

My effort is good enough for 10th and Barry tags a strong 12th despite some negative waves of his own, and we are jetting home as fast as you can whilst making burger stops and nearly running out of gas.

We reflect on a great weekend of training; Dead Dog is clearly the most epic of races, and we dearly hope that the low turnout of 2008 doesn't translate into no race in 2009.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Dead Dog Parking Lot

I know they said registrations were low, but I didn't realize they were this low ...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Things always go better...

...when Tyler Hamilton pats me on the back and says "have a good race"....the guy is standing next to me at the start of last night's TT from Lyons to Boulder. He's there to race with some guys on a four-man team from Toyota-United (they cooked the course in 20 minutes exactly) I'm telling you, Tyler in his Rock racing kit, with his Rock racing TT bike is a lot like "downtown Bling City". OK, so enough ga ga.....they came past me like a mirage.....I looked to the side of the road and Haven Hamilton is sitting on a scooter watching them go by, I say something like "damn, they were flyin" and the next thing I know is Haven is buzzing past me saying GoGoGo!!
I responded by dropping my chain.

Chain on and back in the race.....I hope to pass my friend Leila but she is GONE, (she's been tweaking that bike a bit). Get to the finish and realize I've posted my best time yet.
Leila and I are riding back to the car park and talking about the race, our times etc. when here comes another scooter (maybe the same one) motor pacing David Millar.......white Chipotle skinsuit with those colorful its like celebrity Time Trial night!! What a night!
The best part of the whole thing for me is that this has become my favorite TT course, hard and fast, its right in our backyard, and it carries the stuff you will only see in Boulder.
So, I wanted to share it with you! BTW my fastest time is still pretty slow, no worries!!!
A BIG thanks to the Blue Sky folks out there means a great deal to me and it really makes a difference!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Cycling Colorado's Mtn Passes

After 10 years, I accomplished my goal on Friday, June 20 @ 7:30PM. I finally cycled all of this state's paved mountain passes. All 37 of them, plus the epic climbs of Mt. Evans and the Grand Mesa. Here's my story.

When I arrived in Boulder, CO, on the evening of August 3, 1997, I had already read about the 14ers- the mountain peaks over 14,000 feet, and I knew that I wanted to hike all 53 (or 54 depending on how you classify them). I climbed Long's Peak within the first 3 weeks of settling in, and then I did another 5 of them over the next couple of summers. After climbing Long's Peak for the 2nd time with my future wife, Katie, I realized this wasn't much fun and decided I needed a new goal.

I really didn't set the goal of riding all of the paved mountain passes in CO until about 2004 when I picked up the book Cycling Colorado's Mountain Passes by Kurt Magsamen. I had just had back surgery to repair a herniated disc, and that meant no running for a few months, but I had the go-ahead to bike as much as I wanted. As I looked through the list of mountain passes in Kurt's book, the bible of cycling CO's mountain passes- and he also includes Mt. Evans and the Grand Mesa since these two climbs are arguably harder than cycling many of the passes- I realized that I'd already ridden about 8 of them without even trying. I made it my goal to eventually "bag" all of them.

Again, I rode my first pass in the summer of 1998. (I rode all of the passes b/w Memorial Day and Labor Day, for the obvious reason that I had the best weather.) I hit the trio of Tennessee, Fremont, and Vail passes when I cycled in the Courage Classic that summer, a fundraising ride for the Children's Hospital. Then it was two-year gap before I rode Independence Pass in the summer of 2000; this was a minor accomplishment since 4 months earlier I was the victim of a nasty hit-and-run by a drunk driver after which I spent 3 weeks in the hospital and missed 6 weeks of work while mending all of my broken bones. Me and two buddies rode from Twin Lakes to Aspen, had lunch, and rode back. I remember we got caught in a cold downpour on the summit and took cover with a bunch of motorcycles until the rain let up.

I hit Squaw, Juniper, and Loveland Passes in 2001, 2002, and 2003 riding in those years' Triple Bypass rides. In 2002, I rode from the the gate at RMNP to the Alpine Visitor's Center and back. This was a pretty darned tough climb. Then it was in June 2005 that I actually started planning things out by climbing Cameron pass with a guy from the Boulder Triathlon Club. We rode over the summit for about 1/4 mile. I didn't really have a protocol when I rode these passes. For some I'd climb in both directions, some just up and down the other side, and many just cresting the summit before I'd descend again. I just wanted to be sure I rode some distance to the summit.

On a road trip in 2005, what I fondly remember as our mining town camping trip where we visited Durango, Ouray, Silverton, and Telluride, I rode Red Mountain Pass, Dallas Divide, and Wolf Creek Pass. Red Mountian Pass was one of the steepest (coming out of Ouray) but most beautiful passes, Dallas Divide was deceivingly difficult (ridden with Katie), and Wolf Creek was where I rode alongside a herd of deer and passed a couple of cyclists who were racing RAAM that year.

In 2005 I also rode the Grand Loop, a 200-mile one day ride where I again climbed to the high point of Trail Ridge Road, then Milner Pass, and Berthoud Pass. It took me 15 hours, 3 Red Bulls, 3 King-sized Snickers, and a gallon of Sustained Energy to get through that one. It was a busy summer b/c in August I volunteered for the Wild West Relay which ended in Steamboat. That allowed me to ride Rabbit Ears Pass, and then I rode Willow Creek Pass on the way to Idaho Springs for a wedding later that day. Willow Creek was beautiful, and I saw a moose grazing in the stream below me. I capped off the summer by riding La Veta Pass and Cucharas Pass the Saturday before Labor Day, drove back up to Lakewood and spent the night at a friend's, then got up the next day and rode Mt. Evans. (I also summited Mt. Evans twice more in the Mt. Evans RR.) Finally, I raced the Gore Pass RR (also raced Gore Pass in 2006) that year and ended my 2005 season by bagging 12 passes that year.

In 2006 I got Coal Bank and Molas Passes in the Ironhorse Classic, and just as important met my goal of breaking 3 hours in the race (2:51:56). A couple weeks later I rode Kenosha and Red Hill Passes on the way to Breckenridge; Hwy 285 is scary with all its traffic, even mid-week. Later on me, Mike O, and Ernie W rode Hoosier Pass on a gloriously sunny summer day. In July, I was able to plan another ride into a trip to a friend's wedding in CO Springs. I rode Ute and Wilkerson Passes; Ute Pass was like riding over Old Stage Rd with traffic lights- mucho traffic, very urban. But Wilkerson was just the opposite, no traffic and very scenic. In August, I did a solo camping trip and rode up Cottonwood Pass (saw lots of cyclists riding the pass that day) and then headed up Trout Creek Pass. Trout Creek is also on Hwy 285- little shoulder and lots of traffic. Finally, Labor Day weekend allowed me to bag Monarch Pass (surprisingly steep and cold temps in the 30's) and Poncha Pass. I was able to stay in a motel near Monarch Pass since the CO Invihash was going on that weekend. Another good summer- 11 passes ridden that year.

2007 was a low-key year on the bike since we had our first child, but I was still able to get away for 2 long weekends and ride. I rode Hardscrabble Pass (brrr! cold at the top) and then around July 4 did McClure Pass and the Grand Mesa. I camped out in the parking lot of the Redstone fire house before McClure, and the Grand Mesa didn't happen until around Noon so it was blazingly hot with very little shade for most of the climb.

I entered 2008 determined to finish my goal; I had 6 passes to go. On the way back from the Tour of the Gila, I climbed both La Manga and Cumbres Passes, both in southern CO. After racing 4 hard days at the Gila, I had no legs left and even though the passes were not that steep or long, they were tough. Plus it was still pretty cold at 10,000 in early May. My original plan was to ride the infamous CO Death Ride over the summer solstice, a 225-mile ride in southern CO that would've allowed me to get Lizard Head Pass along the way. However, I thought twice about this and realized that without any support, that might be a pretty big bite to chew. Instead I decided to ride the 4 remaining passes. I left last Thursday after my Rotary meeting, and found a very nice secluded campsite along Hwy 114, my staging area for North Pass the next morning. I rode 34 miles to/from North Pass, and if that was an appetizer, Slumgullion and Spring Creek Passes were a very filling dinner. After climbing 2000 feet, driving for 2 hours, and then tackling one of the steepest passes in the state in the heat of the day . . . was just plain foolish. However, I fell in love with Lake City. After another 34 miles of steeps, I grabbed a quick sandwich and a Red Bull and headed off to Telluride and Lizard Head Pass. It was the weekend of the bluegrass festival, so there were cars and hippies everywhere. A total 180 degrees from when Katie and I drove over Lizard Head Pass three years ago. Although nearing the solstice, it was getting pretty shadowy in the dusky light at 7:15PM, and along with the traffic and my tired legs, I decided to just get it over with. Instead of the planned 8-mile climb, I pulled off onto a wide gravel shoulder and rode literally a mile to the summit. There were at least a dozen cars and people wandering about at the summit, people in the area for the bluegrass festival. So it was 7:45PM and I was 2 1/2 hours from my campsite where I left my tent the night before. A friend of ours who was attending the bluegrass festival left me the key to her condo in Ridgeway; I also knew people I could crash with in Ouray if I wanted. But knowing I'd have to get my tent at some point- assuming it was still there- I decided to drive back to the campsite. It was pitch black when I arrived back to the tent at 10:30PM, and there was no one around for miles except the occasional car that drove by on the highway. It was all I could do not to think of all the boogymen out there in the cold dark night!

So, my final thoughts for those of you who want to ride all these passes. It only takes time and desire. In fact, of the 39 climbs, I rode 31 of them all in the last three years. Sure, it took some careful planning and an understanding wife :-) My favorites: Independence, Wolf Creek, Willow Creek, Red Mountain, and Slumgullion Passes. The most scenic passes: Willow Creek, Hoosier, Wilkerson, and McClure Passes. The toughest climbs: Mt. Evans, Berthoud, Trail Ridge, and Slumgullion. Slumgullion had an average grade of over 7% for nearly 7.5 miles, and many times the slope was over 9% with a max of 11.5%.

Now I need a mountain bike. So, how many unpaved mountain passes are there in CO?

Rocky Mountain Senior Games

I had a really successful weekend of racing. The TT's went off as expected, altho I managed 6th place in both the 10k and 5k......the 5k is one where you show up at the start line completely amped to blast off, since all of these races feature a turnaround on a rather narrow country road I spent some time perfecting my turns. In general that means coming in as hot as possible, hitting the brakes hard, turn and sprint like you're on fire. Seemed to work pretty well as I'm up two places from last year and my times have improved.

In the road races I could almost hear the information given by you guys in these emails.....I stayed near the front in both....the 20k was basically a group TT but the 40k had some tactics. I was able to stay on the front with a guy from Pro Peloton, a guy from Bike Peddler, and two guys from Cobras. The Cobras were the working guys for their much larger group,. The three non-Cobras took turns at the front controlling the pace, no one else would do any work, when the Cobras came up, they were marked, blocked and/or caught. The sprint for the finish started at 1000m out, I didn't think it would stick and it didn't, the next was at 400meters, which I covered, and was on this guys wheel when the guys that had been sitting in all race came about on both sides, I got around the guy in front of me but didn't have enough kick left to cross the line in the top three. In any event this was my first top ten finish in a road race, actually the first time I've been in the first group. And I must say I was totally pumped.....when I realized that I had played a part at the front for the entire race and could see the finish while I was still up there, made me feel like I was riding on air!!! Thanks to all of my teammates for sharing your works!!

BTW, the senior games are for men and women from 50 years old on up....if you want info go to Colorado Senior Games and check it out . The categories are USCF and the oldest was a guy named Fred Grover in the 90-94 age group.......(he won).


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Fort Collins Cycling Festival (Rist Canyon Road Race)

At 52 miles with lots of climbing, this was already going to be a hard race, but overnight the race organizers made a course change. They decided to tack on some extra miles bringing the total to 64 and over 7000 feet of climbing. These weren't easy miles either. They included some painful climbs around Horsetooth reservoir. Apparently, they did this for safety reasons but I'm not sure why they waited until the night before to determine that their old finish wasn't safe. Another major league flub on their part was that they moved the feed zones (and didn't announce it to my knowledge). While the last minute changes are annoying, I really do appreciate the amount of effort that goes into putting on a race of this magnitude.

The race starts out by immediately going up a the steep hills by the stadium. There were people in the group that clearly weren't familiar with the course because they were hammering it early. I didn't look behind me, but I think we dropped several people within the first few miles. I had intended to stay near the front to keep from getting gapped on the descents, but instead I found myself near the rear of the newly shrunken group. After the final descent before Rist, I managed to get up to the front where I could cover the speed surges.

The climb up Rist was easier than I remembered last year. I stayed near the front and eventually 4 people were dangling off the front. I knew a couldn't hang and I had to dial it back a bit. Eventually I saw Tyson (FCCT) coming back so I knew I'd have someone to ride with. Every once and a while someone would be on our wheel, but they would usually blow up. We settled in finally with me, Tyson, and some dude in white.

Shortly after the feed, one of the Aussie guy up front drifted back, leave 2 up front. Our group of 4 crested the summit together. Tyson bombed down the hill and maneuvered around a few cars, but I got stuck behind one of them because there was another car coming in the other lane. Tyson opened up a huge gap and it was up to the three of us to close it down. I was all ready to work in this group of three, but the other two didn't seem to be into it. The Aussie that was with us would shoot off the front instead of gently pulling through. It was like an attack. I don't know if that was his plan or what. The other guy was doing a lot of soft pedaling. It was frustrating, and eventually I decided I shouldn't be doing much work in that group. If Tyson got away and bridged, I was okay with that. I love the descent through Buckhorn Canyon and the guys in our group either didn't know the course or weren't comfortable with high speed cornering (or both). I went through one corner with my rear wheel skipping on the pavement because I had to make a last minute adjustment to get around a guy who swung way wide. Scary.

Eventually Tyson slowed down, and we caught him around Masonville. About this time, my legs were really cramping. I hung with this group until we headed north on Glade Rd and got dropped when I was taking a gel. (These new jerseys have pockets that are way too high.) At one point I got back on their wheels, but they dropped me again and I knew I was a goner. From here on out, it was a mental battle just to stay on the gas instead of easing into the finish.

We passed the original turn off to the finish and my legs let out a sigh. Man how I would have liked to be finishing. My legs were dead, but I still tried to ride as hard as I could up the next hills. Up one of the hills, I got passed by a group of three. I couldn't get on their wheels as my legs were cramping every time I tried to get out of the saddle. Once they got over Bingham Hill though, they really slowed down as the jockeyed for position into the finish. When I caught them, I told them it was too early to screw around and tried to up the pace so we wouldn't get caught from behind. They were having none of it, so I just sat on wheels.

Coming into the finish, I did everything I needed to do and put myself right where I wanted to be. I knew the Aussie would have a good sprint, so I forced him to come around me (by slowing down and letting a gap open). I got right on his wheel, but as soon as everyone started sprinting, it was clear I had nothing left to give.

Overall the result was good. 9th place. At the end of the day, my computer said 64.25 miles and 7720 feet of climbing. Thanks to Christine, Jenna, and Ross for handing up water bottles to us. I was very happy to only be carrying 1 water bottle all the way up Rist.

(How do you follow up a 60 mile road race? The 60 mile 'A' ride to Ward on Sunday. I think I need a nap.)

Ryan Rides The Dams

Christine Feeds Dave Freeman

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Winning the hole shot is where it's at!

Here are a few shots of CU Short Track #3! The weather threatened but never fulfilled its promises. Sorry I don't know a few gentlemens' names. I'm learning! It helps if I get to chat a bit with you, then I remember! Right Pete?
Ron, looks like I didn't get any shots of you...shame on me.
It was great to see Sasha and Pam out there racing with us! We missed Jessica and Chris. Great seeing Marty, but still not racing...soon?

I was a bit worried about getting fired as Bob's mechanic. I didn't tighten his seat post enough, it slipped during the race...oops. Better luck next week. If you look closely, you can see the blue tape up on the seat post, that's because he stopped and tightened his seat post during the race.

This banked turn was a blast! Look at Rob getting tripendicular!

This banked turn will put a smile on your face.

Start of the Men's A wave. Now's the time to choke & cough!

Bryan, nice and smooth around the bend

Rob and Ed Schultz fight it out around a turn. Rob came out on top!

Negotiating a tricky turn.

Pete flies around the great banked bend. Best section of the course.

Rumor has it...Charles fell 4 times during this course! He's one tough guy!

I think I won the hole shot! It was most helpful!
I've never lead out a race and held on till the end, till yesterday! It was really pretty fun. The tiny tater tots that we had to lap multiple times were scary and frustrating. Sasha and Pam came in 3rd and 4th. Almost a Blue Sky Sweep!
Sorry I don't have any good pics of you two...I wasn't taking the photos during our race!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Boulder Short Track #3

Another night of dust, sweat and PAIN. If you've never been to a Short Track race, check out the videos. Let the hacking cough begin. I'm out.

Men's B

Men's B

Men's B

Men's B

Rob, Mike, Bryan, Marty, Sasha and Ron

Women's A - first lap

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

5430 Sprint Triathlon

Maybe I should race the Gila (and put in the necessary base miles prior) every spring. With the early season fitness I've gained, it has helped me both as a cyclist and it's improved my fitness off the bike in my triathlon endeavors.

After finishing mid-pack in the Gila GC- I would've finished higher but for a flat tire in the time trial which cost me 18 minutes- I've had some success on the bike, and that fitness has carried over to my triathlon racing. Because of a chronic injury, I'd only run 45 miles in 2008 prior to the Bolder Boulder. I surprised myself on Memorial Day with a 41:42 finishing time. A week later I raced the Longmont Sprint Triathlon and finished 12th overall and 3rd age group. (Technically I was tied for 11th overall and 2nd age group with the same time.) Then came the CO State TT Champs and in spite of a nagging cold, finished 12th in the 35+/cat 4 group. The next day was the Mike Horgan HC, and I crossed the line right behind Blue Sky's Charles Musgrave in 19th place. Last Sunday, in a highly competitive 5430 Sprint Triathlon at the Boulder reservoir, I was ecstatic with my 15 of 106 age group and 68 of 1054 finish. Which leads me to this race report.

I was pretty jazzed for the start of the race, even though the water temp in the Boulder Rez was a chilly 68 degrees. I was in the 3rd wave, starting at 7:40AM. All but one fool in our wave had a wetsuit, and a lot of guys even had neoprene caps on. When I last did this race in 2006, I swam a 15:33, and I was pretty confident I could better this. I'm about 5 lbs lighter this year, as I was able to fit more easily into my neoprene. A non-eventful swim (no goggle fogging, kicks or punches, etcetera) led to a minute plus improvement, and I finished in 13:44. 183rd on the swim. Okay, so I'm still a lousy swimmer.

After 12 years of doing triathlons and duathlons, I finally made the investment to a tri-specific cycling shoe. These shoes typically have one velcro strap, a smaller tongue, and a loop in back which all allow the racer to get into and out of the shoe quicker. This was the first time using these shoes, and they certainly made a difference. I shaved about a minute off my T1 time.

The bike leg was 17.3 miles on a very fast course. After motoring up that little rise coming out of the Rez, I settled into race mode and started passing the folks in the earlier waves. On Jay road, my buddy Craig, a decent cat 3 road racer, zoomed past me. I kept him in my sights, staying about 20- 50 meters back. But I also noticed some yahoo get right on his wheel and start drafting. Drafting is illegal in amateur triathlon and duathlon racing, and you can get time penalties for infractions such as drafting. Go figure there was not a moto ref in sight the entire time I was on the bike. (After the race I had the nerve to go up to the guy and call him a "cheat", and Craig told me he told the guy a number of times to get off his wheel. The most blatant cheating I've ever seen in the 42 triathlons and duathlons I've raced.) The other minor drama I got caught up in was a crash that happened around mile 10 about 30 meters in front of me. Two guys- the only two guys who passed me on the bike- zoomed past me around mile 8 or 9. I was going along at about 27 mph, so these guys were flying. The one guy was in my age group, the other a 40- 45 year-old racer. On 63rd Street, the guy in my age group cut the other guy off, clipped his front wheel, and the older guy went skidding across the pavement. I swerved around him across the double yellow, and then the fool who caused the crash stopped and almost turned into me. Crashes are very uncommon in triathlons, but anything can happen when someone is careless and/or reckless. After the race, I talked to the guy who went down and he had road rash up and down his left side and may have broken his shoulder underneath the ice pack he was holding. By coincidence the yahoo who cut him off had his bike racked next to me; the guy was a better athlete than me as he finished ahead of me in the final result- he must've run faster. I finished the bike about 20 seconds slower than in 2006 for a 23.5 mph average.

I again zipped through transition, taking about 30 seconds off my 2006 T2 time, and it was off on the run. There was a steady breeze coming out of the east as we ran along the dam road. Back in the day before my chronic heel pain, the run was my strength, even allowing me to finish in the top 3 of my age group in a number of smaller races. I was still able to pick off a few of my fellow age groupers, and only a couple guys passed me on the run. I didn't think I'd match the pace I ran in the Longmont Sprint, thinking I'd run 7:00 min/mi. After having a nice tail breeze on the way back in from mile 2 into the finish, I picked up the pace for the remaining 1.1 miles and finished running a 21:16 for a 6:52 min/mi pace off the bike. I came across the line strong and saw and heard Katie, Kenna, and the other Boulder Triathlon Club teammates cheering on the final straightaway. (If only I had a Blue Sky triathlon skinsuit.) I finished in 1:21:04, an improvement of 3 minutes over my 2006 time. Afterwards we hung out with James and the Blue Sky tri babes under the DRS/Blue Sky tent that James had set up. There was a nice race expo, with Avery Brewing Company as one of the race sponsors. Why don't cycling promoters have expos with free beer?? Those White Rascals from Avery Brewing sure tasted good afterwards.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Fathers Day Crit

Loaded up the family and headed into the hills for the first annual Glenwood Springs downtown criterium. The crit was a classic L-shaped downtown neighborhood course with some technical sections to keep you on your toes and the group strung out in single file.

I did my best impression of Kevin A. by patroling the front of the race. The only thing missing was some more of the Blue Sky faithful to share in the fun.

Louisville played some good tactical cards today and kept sending people of the front and then sitting on it. Had to come around and work as this guy wouldn't pull his own teammate back.

It was all back together for a little while.

Then a surge for the $10 prime brought on the pain face.

Jose was out taking some pictures and yelling words of encouragement. Thanks Jose, hope your race later in the day went well.

Word on the street was that the road race on Saturday was brutal. I plan on making the annual trek to support this race and so should you!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Blue Sky Sweeps at Winter Park

Hey...I know those guys! It's Roger, Howard and Phil! They stole 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in men's beginner 45-49.

OK, the race, beautiful bluebird Colorado day. Perfect temperature, great comradary. Jessica stayed about a switchback ahead of me the whole race. She finished a minute and 3 seconds ahead for 5th, I was 6th, in our sport cat.

Other Blue Sky racers: Mike Bernhard, Grady Huff, Michael Baraga, Ron Dreasher, Dave Harber (on a single speed!), Charles Musgrave, and of course our fearless leader Darrin Sharp!

I didn't podium, but I got the last raffle- about a $100 dollar value all said and done! We were leaving, already hung out too long after all of the awards were given, just hoping to win something. I was out of earshot, but Charles wasn't...he yelled that they just called me, and I got a prize!

Some other local favorites that did well, but not on Blue Sky: Bob Prieto (my better half) won the men's 40-44. Cat Johnson won overall for Expert Women!

Jess & I will sweep 'em next year. Or we'll be the sweeps. Which is it? I always confuse sayings!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

More Short Track Mania

You guys will soon see me out there dragging my slow ass around the Women's B category, but in the interim, this is a better use of my time: taking photos of everyone else's ass. Please don't take offense if I got any names wrong...I don't know everyone on the team yet.

Starting the evening was Jessica, the sole BSVer in the Women's B:

Meanwhile, Drake was flying through the juniors with his Spiderman tights:

Then it was time to cue the Men's Cs.

Ron puts down the hammer:

Pete hangs tough after a warm-up mishap:

Bryan actually looks like he's enjoying himself:

Charles gives the downhill a little how's -your-father:

Ernie thinks that's a good idea and follows suit:

After that dust cloud settles down, the Bs line up.

Mike keeps his lead for some time after grabbing the hole shot, showing these punks the backside of his sexy 9er:

Then he catches a breather behind Rob, who brought a new level to the Business Socks. What can Brown do for you?

Meanwhile, Peter is giving the rest of the field something to work for:

And this gentleman, who I believe is Chris, was the stealth action man:

Susan's next, fighting tooth and nail with those damn Women's A goils:

And wrapping up the night, Rob gave the Men's A crowd a run for their money:

Nice work, everyone. Soon the world will fall under the dominion of Blue Sky Velo. Hear me now, believe me later!