Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Rad Events This Week

Hey kids! If you've got some free time for riding and watching movies this week, check out these events:

This Thursday, come to the Boulder Mountainbike Alliance Film Nite. You'll get to see a couple of short films plus the feature premier of "Red Bull Rampage: The Evolution." (Dude!!) But possibly best of all, you'll get to see Blue Sky's own Rob Love star in a short film made by yours truly. Beer is served and the ticket proceeds benefit kids' mtb group SMBA.

Second, and even more fun, is the Mavic Wheel Demo Ride on Saturday. Demo a pimp set of Mavic wheels, get free coffee and BBQ, and put the hammer down on your friends. Please come ride with the group, even if you don't want to demo wheels. Consider it Saturday's group ride.

Mavic Wheel Demo Ride

when: Saturday May 2nd, 2009 10am (arrive by 9:30 to begin fitting wheels)

where: Blue Sky Cycles, 600 S. Airport, Longmont (located at airport and nelson) www.blueskycyclesonline.com

what: Demo new the new Mavic Cosmic Carbone SLR and R-Sys wheels on your favorite roads in Boulder County. The ride will start and finish at Blue Sky Cycles, making a stop mid-way at The Stone Cup in Lyons where drinks will be provided. Expect the ride to be about 2.5 hours, with some spirited efforts and regrouping happening. This is a social ride, not a race. Afterward, a full-on BBQ will be provided by Two Dog Diner, with carnivorous and vegetarian options. Oscar Blues will provide the beer, and Mavic representatives will be on hand for technical Q+A. Additionally, wheels will be available for individual test rides after the group ride.

how: RSVP to reserve your set of wheels to bizalich@gmail.com. The ride rolls at 10 am, so plan on showing up by 9:30 to get your wheels fitted. first come, first served. We will be swapping wheels out at The Stone Cup, eg. if you have a demo set of wheels for the first half of the ride, you will be on your own wheels for the second half, and vice versa.

Questions? e-mail Rob at bizalich@gmail.com

.....there you have it! Come out and join us!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Weekend of Racing - 4/25 and 4/26

This was my first weekend racing this year, and first races for Blue Sky Velo.  They were filled with fun, agony, lessons learned (WWKD) and a sense of accomplishment.  

First up was the Deer Trail Road Race.  Racing Cat4/35+ we went off at 8:30 am and raced 42 miles.  Kevin Van Pelt was also there sporting the BSV colors.  It was an ominous start to the day when I awoke at 5 am to drizzle in Boulder.  My thought process was, "crap, I hope it is nicer out there, better toss some more clothes in the bag."  I knew I wanted to be near the front as a pack of 75 cat 4s is something to behold.  I lined up in the third row and felt pretty good.  But oops, in the chaos of the neutral zone including half a lane of dirt and some monster pot holes, I lost some spots.  No problem, mid pack should be ok.  

As we started the first of three out and backs, the pack was pretty sloppy.  It was into a headwind, so the pace was pretty low in the pack.  However, the accordion effect was a mess that far back.  My first thought was to get to the front, but as we were a roving band of chaos taking up the whole road, I didn't find my way there.  First WWKD he would say get to the front, stay there.  I need to focus on making sure I am at the front straight away.  At the first of three turn arounds, a Bike Law guy said, "enough is enough" and took off.   A bold move with 32 or so miles to go.  Kevin Van Pelt had a great position coming out of this turn around in the top 10 or even better (I need lessons on how to get there).  Given the attack and the mess of a turn around, I had to go pretty hard to get back on the lead pack.  The track is certainly paying off as I was able to get back on the lead pack slaloming through the shelled guys.  Things stayed pretty sedate until the first of two turns (Colo Bike Law guy still out front).  

After the turn, again someone upped the pace, again I closed it, but was thinking "hmm, that took a few matches, wonder how many I have left".  WWKD, well, he would have been on the front, not wasting so much energy.  Lesson 2, get to the front.  Soon after another move went and so did my energy.  That was it, I chased for a while and popped bad.  The good news is I was much further into the race than I was last year when I lost the lead pack.  I spent the rest of the race in a succession of chase groups, but was pretty spent, as my plan was to hold on as long as possible to the leader and blow bad, well, I did.  Overall, a fun day and I hung on to the leaders longer than last year.  The Bike Law guy hung on to win by 22 seconds, bold move and kudos to him for hanging on.  

Day two, Haystack TTT

When I woke up this morning to sun, I was stoked.  A 4:45 start time gave me time to relax, eat a bunch and hopefully recover from yesterday.  After meeting the guys "Straight of Longmont" (Eric Scroger, Brian Anderson, Ron Thommassen, David Williams) we warmed up a bit and set our strategy based on the changing wind.  Kevin Abraham and the rest of the Big Lebowskis came in soon before we started and gave us some great advice on the cross wind.  The advice, take up the whole rode, draft on the person ahead's hip and use the whole road until someone comes by to say don't do it.  Then, when the referee leaves, take up the road again.  

We had a good start and were making time on the team in front of us right away.  Onto Nelson, normally a huge tailwind was a nasty crosswind causing some issues.  Unfortunately, we lost David who was sick and had also raced earlier.  This was too bad as when healthy, he is a big motor.  It also meant I had to go further as we wanted as many people as far as we could go.  About this time, the Hammer Time team came flying by us with Horacio absolutely hammering off the front.  It was impressive to say the least.  They were down to three guys soon after this, so we were all hoping the lead hammers had no mechanicals.  

Team SOL worked great together and Ron is an absolute machine.  He pulled alot.  At times I was suffering hard just to hang on.  I took a few pulls on 75th and one on Neva, and bid my team adieu at 63rd.  I recovered a bit and then rode as hard as I could, fearing a mechanical of one of the guys in front.  If this happened I would be rider three (time stops on 3rd rider) and was silently praying to the mechanical gods to give them a good go.  Big thanks to the BSV crew who drove around the course and cheered us on.  Also thanks to my wife who was out there with cowbell in hand cheering as well.  

Overall, we took 6 out of 9 and the Hammer Time team took the victory!  The Big Lebowskis were 4th, so overall a great TTT day for Blue Sky.  There were also some serious times and victories in the ITT, but I don't know all the details.

It was a great weekend of racing and camaraderie and I can't wait to do it again.  

Saturday, April 25, 2009

It's dry and sunny in Pueblo

Marty finally got the new GT dirty

hey kids:
Marty and i here, rappin' at ya via the world-wide-interweb from Pueblo.
Why are we in Pueblo, you might ask? good question... we are down here for a little mtn bike race that is being put on out on the trails around the lake.
We left Longtucky midday and drove through fog and rain until we got past Colorado Springs, and then it cleared up as we suited up at the trailhead for a little preview of tomorrows course. The trails around the lake, for those of you who have not been there, offer up at least 20 miles of singletrack. Not sure exactly when these trails got built, but i'm pretty sure it was an effort similiar to that of Troy Rarick out on 18 road in Fruita. in fact, the trails are kinda similiar to 18 road... except the surface has a lot of semi-loose shale-type rock. when you ride over it, it sounds like you are riding on thousands of broken dishes. pretty cool.
anyway, the course looks to be pretty fast--all middle and big ring with a few power climbs thrown in there.
We were about 35 minutes into the ride when we stopped to get our bearings and take a few pictures. I went to clip back in and the main spring on my eggbeater pedal broke right off. dammit. Being the astute planner that i am, i had a large contingent of spare pedals and hardware tucked away nicely in a drawer in my garage at home. a quick look at the watch showed 4:18, and we had less than an hour to get back into town to try to buy a new pair of pedals at a shop. we b-lined it back to the car--riding about 3 miles with one foot clipped in.

This picture shows the extreme topography of the course, and is pretty much exactly when i broke my pedal

We showed up at Great Divide Bike and Hike (4th and Santa Fe, downtown) with about two minutes to spare, and i threw down some hard earned cash on a pair of Smarty's. Luckily, they are white, so my image can remain untarnished on the start line tomorrow.

Anyway, a dude that works there named Joel is the guy who is putting on the race... so he gave us some more info about the rest of the course and we were off.

Rob "I keep crank brothers in business" Love

As always, the pics were snapped by Marty... more updates tomorrow. or maybe not, who knows?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Air Force Academy Road Race '09

Thankfully, the weather cooperated enough for the Air Force Academy Road Race today. It was a cold start at 7:50AM, but the roads were clear with only a few puddles to splash through. Lucky for the other riders, Dave, Austin, and were so hot in our new kits that it warmed up the rest of the group.

There was a neutral rollout for the beginning of the race since they've had problems in the past with people getting out safely. The race was neutralized all the way until you turn onto Stadium. It was really nice to not have to hammer it right from the gun.

For the first lap, I sat on the front. Not a great idea from an energy saving standpoint, but it was nice to keep a reasonable tempo up there and prevent people from getting too worked up about any early escape attempts.

On the second lap, I settled in near the back of our shrunken group. It was more sketchy back there, but it was also easier not being out front. On the long climb up Pine Dr, people made some surges. I was able to stay with the group, but I could tell I was getting tired and that new chamois under me wasnt going to sustain my hopes and dreams for much longer. Apparently some other people were getting tired too, because there was 1 crash and another near crash on this lap.

As expected, things really heated up on the last lap. On the downhill sections, people were throwing in attacks and I had to work hard to stay with them. It certainly softened me up. I had to laugh a bit when one person launched a counter attack only to be chased down by his teammate.

We turned on to Pine, and there was a calm before the storm. I knew the attacks were coming and I knew I didn't have the legs. I stayed with the first few, and then I finally popped and rode to the finish solo for 12th place. Dave finished in the 20's and Austin in the 30's.

The winner was from the Front Rangers team. Those kids are no doubt strong climbers, but they're also a little scary to ride around. The same person was involved in a crash (I think), nearly went down later by rubbing wheels, and knocked into my bars at 30+ MPH for no reason (plenty of room to come around me). I don't mean to call anyone out, but damn, take it easy out there. It's a cat 4 race for crying out loud.

The Air Force Academy does a great job of putting on this race. The course is great, they have a ton of helpers (almost an army of people, I guess), and this year they even set up an enclosed structure for registration. Nice work.

Friday, April 17, 2009

VBP at Sea Otter

BAM, that number plate just got tagged, Valmont-style!

hey kids:

for those of you lucky enough to be reading this blog from Sea Otter, and for the rest of us that need to live vicariously through pictures showing a little VitaminD, check it out: Mike Eubank of the Valmont Bike Park crew is out at Sea Otter doing his thing along with IMBA getting the word out about the park. Mike is spending his own time and money out there, spreading the gospel! This will definitely get some national attention to the park, and help speed along fundraising and construction.
The IMBA booth is 20x20ft of bike-avocating madness!

The VBP trail map is about as Pro as it gets.

Alright, that's about it for right now--so if you or someone you know is out in Monterrey, give'em a text, tweet, e-mail, or smoke signal and tell 'em to get over to the booth and give Mike and the crew some props!

Rob Love, over&out.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Moab - this one goes to 11

Okay, I have to admit it. I snuck out when nobody was looking last weekend and rode at Moab. I know, I feel like I'm Tom Cruise finally coming out of the closet to his fans or something, because I didn't go on the trip last weekend with the team, but I have to say, it was SWEET and we didn't get snowed on!

Patrick (also new to Blue Sky) and I were the only Coloradans in the group. The rest (Jason and Jonathan) were heathens from that hive of scum and villainy called California. I can call it a hive as I am a recent transplant and I know both hives and villainy when I see 'em! Entertaining it was, as we dealt with the cultural differences associated with these very different backgrounds. Riding the trails of Boulder seems to have toughened my hide to things such as flying off of rocks and sliding on loose gravel where the "hardpacked trails in redwood forests" snooty crowd from out west seemed to be overwhelmed with spandex diaper wetting fear at the sight of these. Alas, however, the Cali crowd did have a certain zen about them on the singletrack sections that were smooth that was quite awe inspiring.

Night 1 - Arrival and Fred Steaks

Of what I miss from California, this is one of the biggest. Oh ye who does not like the beef flesh, sorry for thine grossed-outed ness! To others, lo, the Fred Steak! Four lbs of meat for four people (my coach is probably cringing), Fred Steaks are black before they are cooked due to the secret marinate from Schaub's Meats in Stanford, CA. Cooked as giant roasts, these beasts fueled our trip for the rest of the weekend! My wife used to be a vegetarian until the time she smelled one of these things cookin' on the barbie. That's how good they are.

Oh yeah, I nearly forgot, there were people there too! Sometimes, I can focus a bit too much on one thing. Our stash of Colorado (aka above 3.2%) beer was in good form as we "hydrated" for the big rides on the next day.

Day 2 - Slickrock

Patrick (of aforementioned "newbie just like me to the club fame") and Jonathan (of whom we most often referred to as "Nagy" (it's like "Nay ghee", not "naggy" like what I do to my poor wife when I'm being a bad husband) had never ridden slickrock, so we headed out to push our heartrates to previously unseen places excepting by a hyperactive kitten who just ate a cup of catnip laced with espresso. The conditions were perfect. Overcast, but warm and with a light breeze. We had such a great ride that we added on the practice loop to demonstrate our thorough domination of the course! While we were passed a couple of times, I assure you that the old fellow with the prosthetic leg only got by us because we were taking a break to catch scenery, not because I had to re-insert the barfed up lung that was a consequence of a particularly nasty climb. (I never knew that my HR monitor could show HR zone 6). Injuries for this ride: Jason - One skinned knee and several small road rashy areas when he decided that walking up a section was more prudent than riding. Patrick - one skinned elbow due to endo. Jonathon - healthy and happy. KBK- one barfed up lung (spent 41 minutes riding in HR zone 4)

Here is a profile with HR. Ouch!

After miles of endless roller coastering and getting our tired on something fierce, we decided for a quick shower and a hike at Arches. Here are some photos from the trip to Delicate Arch.

KBK, Jason and Patrick perched looking out at Delicate Arch.

Here is an alternate view of Delicate Arch. Kinda looking up her skirt.

Self-portrait with Delicate Arch

Day 3 - Amasa Back and Klondike Bluffs/Baby Steps

Jason and I, having been to Moab twice already in the last 12 months, wanted to try something new, so we headed out in the morning after the requisite trip to Cafe Eclectica for a morning cup of "wake up and get bad service". If you haven't ever done this ride, I highly recommend it for those who like a huge serving of "oh shit that's a long ways down" alongside a healthy helping of technical riding! Click on the map below for a bigger version. Basically, you start down in a creek and then climb up until you get to a great cliff edge, and according to Nagy, do pushups (see pic below) and then return. Injuries on this ride: Nagy - sprained thumb with nasty looking bruise due to SPD fail on endo. KBK - one bruised ego as 10 year old cruised technical cliff section that made him quiver with fear.

Nagy doing pushups on the cliff edge. Yes, he was really doing pushups. Then Patrick, a trained wildlife biologist, proceeded to ruin the digestive systems of some native chipmunks with power bar bits.

Klondike Bluffs was a cool afternoon fairly mellow ride. We opted for doing a good chunk of the Baby Steps singletrack section whilst we were galumphing about. Baby Steps is my favorite ride there. No, it's not epic. Yes, the name doesn't scream "you are a badass." But, it is silly fun to be riding swoopy singletrack. For the uninitiated, it's a great way to get in some fun turns without getting your coach angry at you for excessive riding that is hurting your recovery from overtraining (not that I have that problem. Oh no. Never me.)

Here is a small section of the Baby Steps trail we rode. The color-coding is my HR. See there coach, nice and easy. Only two little sections in HR zone 4. On the right is Klondike Bluffs (slickrock with striations of veggie) and on the left is the silliness that is known as Baby Steps. There were several more of these duodenums of fun throughout the trail that largely hung around Klondike like an overexcited little buddy.

Injuries this ride - Nagy nagged by continuing SPD fails (lousy pedals) and is saved from ugly ugly wipeout by landing ON Patrick. Jason pouts and endures verbal beating because he backed off ride due to general malaise and fatigue just before fun swoopy singletrack section.

Day Whatever it was - Downhill to doom 18 miles of Pure Porcupine Bliss

This was the third time I've done this ride in some variation, but this was the best I had ever felt. The bike was hooked up. 140mm of travel just made this grueling trail feel like a root canal instead of examining the underside of a rolling tractor. Getting dropped off late in the morning, we were heading down on the upper singletrack before noon and had hours of fun ahead. We got dropped off high enough to hit the bottom of Kokopeli trail and then the upper sections of singletrack on Porcupine. Kokopeli was very Batan Death March in nature. We hunkered down to hike through 4 inches of mud for the uphill and, I am fairly sure, plagued by dengue fever. Not long into the riding though, did the moisture of the previous weekend begin to pay off in a big fat happy way. The normally sandy upper singletrack was super plush and tacky and completely swoop-able.

Here is the profile from that ride. If you look closely, you can see that 25 ft section of uphill in the 23 mile total ride down into the Colorado River and back to town. The red line betrays that boys will be boys as testosterone pushed us into ever increasing paceline speeds on the highway in. Oh, no way are any of us competitive.

If you would like to see a video of the a good section of the lower singletrack of the ride with Patrick riding out in front, click here. You will find this particularly entertaining if you have a high tolerance for sea sickness and hard rock music. Also, sorry, but I had the camera on a bit sideways, so try tilting your head for optimal viewing experience.

Injuries this ride: surprisingly, none. Just a bit tired. Have to say though, felt like if there were 10 more miles of downhill, I'd have loved it even more!

Good times everyone! I only hope that we can all coordinate to ride together out there soon! I would love to learn some of the secret trails that you folks know!



Sunday, April 12, 2009

Little Miss Blue Sky……or Sunshine? MTB Training Camp Blog.
Well, what can we say about this adventure!?! Waking Wednesday and Thursday with much anticipation and awareness that we faced risky odds, for both journey and destination, we carefully loaded our engined transports with quivers of two-wheeled spirit-seekers and pointed our intentions to the Western Plains.

With varying degrees of visibility, we cut through snowy mists and raced across icy roads that tempted us to turn and flee back home, reaching for our snowboards and skis, and giving way to the temptations of the ocean of white fluff and all that is promises. But, our bikes looked down on us from above and pushed us from behind, whispering and inviting us to join in on endless hours of freedom, joy, and everything that mountain biking stands for. We moved on with attention and intention balanced precisely on our purpose, steadfast on our journey to a place we all seek and too infrequently experience. 18 warriors in all, we faced light and life, our peaceful weapons held by handlebars and knobbed wheels.
A few of us remained trapped behind a wall of snow, ice, illness, or a path that simply led to another adventure, but most of us arrived in Fruita with a smile on Wednesday and Thursday. The first BSV training riders headed out for welcome, if not warm, trail conditions on Rustlers Loop in Fruita (Loma) on Wednesday afternoon while others stayed behind and set up camp. A blast on Moore Fun closed Wednesday riding as the wind died down and the last days of sunlight and blue sky hinted at wishes playing themselves out, and dusk fell onto the horizon offering us views of mist-ridden buttes and spires that faded into darkness and invited us to glimpse our only experience of the starry heavensabove that we would see for the next few days…..

Thursday was an incredible day. It was the kind of day that makes you feel invigorated, alive, joyful, present, and fulfilled all at the same time. Knowing we faced a dance with the weather, we harnessed the golden, life-sustaining rays of sun and sent three groups toward the Book Cliffs for a waltz with wonderful, flowing singletrack - the thin kind, the kind we dream about, talk about, aspire to ride, and can never quite capture with words. But, our spirits knowits true name and that is all we need. Snapshots from our cameras chase the experience, but the true pictures lie etched in our minds, in our very being, transcending all stills, melding into who we are, and becoming part of the breathe we breathe from that point forward, never quite leaving us the same, but better. A bright red Indian Paintbrush flower, my favorite, greets us at the top of our first climb, lets us know spring is here, and blesses our day as we pass. We allow ourselves to be breathed…..as we shoot down Zippety Do, back up PrimeCut, tipping our hats to our four-legged brethren that move and moo to a slower beat, then down Joe's Ridge, then Kessel's Run, then up Prime-Cut again, over Chutes and Ladders, and perhaps a bit of Western Zippety with a hint of the Edge. Ridgelines of epic – absolutely and phenomenally epic singletrack - allow us to pass on the brim of the knife-edge ridges and our consciousness, givingway to the depth of the valleys below that call us back home, and at the same time offering up the breadth of naked bliss, of raw experience, and of the unparalleled joy that rolling, undulating, tight singletrack, cutting into infinity on the desert horizon, brings us. We choose to live the story, and we end the day stronger for it.
Thursday night blanketed our Blue Sky with crying sky and gusts of wind blown from the lips of Zeus himself, filling our tents like the sails of Odysseus's great ship on his journey homeward. Half awake or half asleep, our hopes of racing more Fruita singletrack were dashed in a dreamy like state that bled intothe gray of morning. Breakfast in the rain under a man-made shelter was wet butc heerful. Rain and snow pounded the artificial, steel-roof atop a concrete slab, hosting a cold metal picnic table that gathered us and at the same time prompted us to depart. The scrub-brush desert above us in the Colorado National Monumentopened itself to Jack Frost, and a sparse, white blanket outlined features of the desert we had not previously noticed, perhaps because we were not listening, and it bid us a humble and not entirely unpleasant farewell. Some of us broke tents and some of us just left them and walked away. On to a new adventure within an adventure.
We all pointed our warm and for once welcome four-wheeled comrades toward Moab after a call to Poison Spider Bike Shop promised us a more hopeful immediatefuture. As a few of us rolled into Moab and descended upon Red Rock Bakery for a good cup of joe, some classy slop, and companionship – the kind only found in atreasured coffee shop before a good ride - we got a call from Susan Prieto telling us that her VW van had lost a few bolts from its clutch linkage and that she could only drive in third gear, determined by John Perry with his back flat to the grindstone. The Gerbers cheered Susan on at roadside, but teased her with an overfull car, hosting Brianne Marshall and too many bikes inside, but lots ofgood cheer. After a few calls to Moab and Green River, Susan caravanned with the others south to Moab while the Colorado River dared her third gear to outpace italong the highway, and led her away from an almost Stephen King-like experience that only Cisco, Utah can scare you with if friends don't come along and move you gently forward, wherever forward leads.
Susan in the Van

Everyone managed to arrive in Moab at one time or another on Friday, but none of us were wearing or caring about watches anymore. Roger and group headed up to Slick Rock for an anticipated loop on the front end, while Chris, Kevin, Brianne, John, and Phil departed Flat Pass trailhead and sadly left Andy behind yearning for his seat and seat post that lay behind, a Joker in the hotel parking lot. Much thanks to Liz Gerber, a third row seat, three top racks and a quad rear rack on the Madden Pilot that became our shuttle for that ride. FlatPass was a hoot, never letting us down. An initial stream crossing, ultra-technical ledges on slick rock climbs, various insane rock drops and technical descents, and sandy, flowing, bermed jeep roads led us to our final descent into a magical rock-walled canyon blanketed with fins of slick rock melding into a baby head roadway that dove under three more springtime streamcrossings and spit us out on a sandy, gear grinding (for both quads and ears, literally!) climb out onto a road above Moab. This point marked the end of our trail ride, and the beginning of a hail and then snow and rain storm that escorted us back into Moab, leaving us soaking wet and frozen, and dementedly happy. We moaned a bit as we dipped our hands in the hot tub at the Best Western, where we all decided to park and carry on the party. Andy, Darrin, Susan and the Gerbivores railed Amasa Back, Susan and Darrin sharing the same storm, on their return, that graced the Flat Pass group and gave meaning to its alternate name: Steelbender. Brianne M and Jessica P closed the day with a trail run through Negro Bill Canyon which dead ends at the world's longest natural rockbridge. An odd, spring-fed mystical pool beneath the bridge piques curiosity at the landscape and boosted the runners back along the stream by the same paththey had come.

A wet day in Moab
Saturday proved to be an Epic salsa dance within and around the weather. A large cohort of Blue Sky riders headed out for a long, route-finding, quad-pounding, soul searching, endurance ride along Gold Bar/Gold Spike trail,along the northwestern rim above Moab. Half the group decided to turn back as snow welcomed everyone's entrance to the backcountry badlands. They nailed a nice road ride back to town and logged some decent pedal time back to the hotel. The other three climbed to the Gold Bar Rim, phoned the town group a hazy Polaroid lacking text that left us all enthralled, intrigued, and a bit worried. After racing across mounds of giant, house-sized rocks and weathering two snowstorms, the ghost riders next made contact with the townie groupo near the Overlook, just beyond the Portal Trail as they descended on the lost, sandy mesathat tops out the Poison Spider Mesa bike trail. Disoriented orienteers double-looped a section and decided to borrow wisdom for our sometimes deliverance-like trail cousins, the jeepers, who pointed them onward. The riders found their game as they descended over and down PSM toward home, or away fromit? The townie folks loaded head lamps, riders, and trail runners and headed toward PSM trailhead, ready to rise to unforeseen challenges as they had lost contact with the rim riders after the Overlook and were worried. PSM is known for seducing occasional riders into a lost desert, some meeting death, and some meeting with the moon for a night, and all ultimately respecting mother nature's game of smoke and mirrors up there. Thankfully the two groups collided with horns and smiles along Potash Road, and deciding to tempt fate a bit, Jessica M jumped in Susan P's van with Andy W, Chris M, and Sage M for a last call at SickRock Bike Trail.

Chris M ran the Practice Loop, spotting he and Jessica's daughter, Sage, and occasionally giving her a boost up a steep climb while the other three riders joined in the fancy and fun of that wondrous place, and everyone whooped and hollered above the insane wind that carried their glee for all lucky enough to hear it and wise enough to listen, for humor and laughter are forces beyond all measure. As if another exclamation point wanted to sneak onto the end of a sentence that closes out a good poem, but is not really welcome, Susan P's van decided to pull another fast one and welcomed us back from SR with a dead battery. After Susan enrolled and completed a brief refresher course on how to push start a vehicle, all 3 adult child wannabes and one child raced after an 87 VW van that screeched and screamed toward the bottom corner of the parking lot on a diagonal that would either graduate us or park us, a fate that rested in one ironic pop of the clutch. As the engine chattered to a start and therider-now-pushers lost their grips of the bumper, we noticed a lone BMXer acrossthe parking lot who had stopped and was looking on, almost hoping we would fail,s o that he may partake in the action that resurrected past-time memories from high school and college and cheap cars and no cares…..we waved to him as we jumped into the open side of the van and drove off, laughing and sharing high fives.

Saturday night invited everyone for malts and ice cream at the Moab Diner, a modernized, nostalgic 50's diner with a mojo that appropriately honors its historical time. We celebrated our dances with the weather, our tributes and triumphs, and our companionship by a warm fire built in the hotel outdoor firepit. The latecomers grilled salmon, veggie burgers, beans, onions and veggies on camp stoves that were just as at home within the Moab city limits as they werein the dirt. A few good ales brought jolly to the party, and we celebrated with so much more than good food and drink that evening.

Darrin and Kevin on Sovereign

Susan on Sovereign

Blue sky and sun, albeit crisp temperatures, invited us all out of bed early Sunday morning. An early morning group of 5 riders headed out and shared a few hours together on Sovereign, warming up their quads for another day that a few were privy too, or capping off the trip with a nice cool down. The Madden clan and one of Sage's friends tried to hit the trail, but one of the kids could not muster her legs or emotional strength that morning, so all bid farewell at thetrail head as both groups crossed paths at different points on their journeys that day. Kevin VP and Phil M were lucky to spend another day riding, hoping tofind dry trails in Fruita Monday on their trek homeward. Susan P, Darrin S, and Andy W ventured back to Moab to pick up a new battery for Susan's van that once again moaned and groaned and was unwilling to start in the hotel parking lot. I think they headed home after that [Turns out the battery wasn't the problem. But, after another push-start in the motel parking lot, we made a dash to Boulder being careful not to turn the engine off the entire way. -Darrin] The Maddens were out too, returning to Fruita to collect their tent and memories of that day on the Book Cliffs and Loma. Roger had departed Saturday evening, yearning for a brief snow experience Sunday at his place in Winter Park, and Howard and the rest of the Blue Sky folks droveback from rain in Fruita on Saturday, sending us all good tidings and a thoughtful road report via cyberspace. The Gerbivores, Liz nursing a cold, and Brianne M bid farewell to all after a Sunday morning rendezvous at Red Rocksbakery again, our entry and exit portal to and from Moab.

Two wheels, a bike, a spirit path called singletrack, a good friend, all cares left behind. And I experience only raw beauty and happiness as I give myself to a passion that is completely undaunting and uncontrollable. None of us need toname it because the smiles on our faces reveal our secrets as we revel in the presence we are drawn into, no matter where we were before the trip, or where were turn after it. After all, now is all we truly have. And, as I look up while writing this on our way home, I see and am thankful for a brilliant Blue Sky.

Chris M
(Posted by Darrin on behalf of Chris. Thanks to Andy for the photos.)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I was at the Boulder track earlier tonight, Tuesday evening, watching some of the men's A/B racing leagues. By the way, I saw Charlie there at 7pm finishing up a track workout as well. For the race night, they had 4 racers for the A races, and 5 racers for the B races. The racing was pretty informal, and the track official called the race event type right before it started. The races alternated between the A and the B group, and included a combination of points and scratch races, with 3 races each for both A and B fields. During the 2nd B race, a rider lapped the field, and the other B riders forced him to cat up into the next A race right afterwards. Not only did this B rider hang with the other A racers, he won the 90 lap point race. Impressive (Sandbagger). Overall, the racing was exciting and inspiring to say the least. I'll have to try some B races some time myself.

Between races, I was chatting with a guy who works at the track, (Allen?), about the postponed Koppenberg race. Most of us now have probably heard from ACA and Boulder Racing that the Kopp is tentatively scheduled for this Sunday, April 5th, OR possibly to have the race as part of a Memorial Day omnium.

Allen said he heard that the second option is now more likely with the upcoming snow on Friday/Saturday of this week, causing Sunday the 5th to be thrown out too. That makes sense. Allen also told me he heard the race promoters are trying to enhance the Koppenberg race given the extra time for planning. While the Koppenberg is a pretty infamous local Spring race in of itself, rumor has it they're trying to make this race even bigger by adding in the classic Morgul-Bismarck loop as well.

You heard me right. M-B-K! Can you imagine a Morgul-Bismarck-Koppenberg race!?! What could be more awesome than riding the Morgul-Bismarck course from the Coors Classic AND the Koppenberg circuit in a single race!?!? The proposed course supposedly will still start behind CostCo/Target, then head out South on McCaslin to tackle the Hump (8%), then the Wall (12%), followed by the FeedHill on 128 (6.5%), head north on 93, then cruise up Marshall road back to Superior. After crossing the start line, riders will still have to face the Koppenberg circuit(s) including the crazy 18% dirt climb before finishing at the original start line.

The tentative plan supposedly has Cat 3/4 Men and all Women ride one lap of the Morgul Bismarck Loop followed by 1 or more laps of the Koppenberg course, depending on category. Pro 1-2 Men would have to do 2 full laps on the MB loop plus 4 circuits of the Koppenberg. Sweet. Here's a google maps link (see screenshot below) I mocked up (unofficial) to get an idea of the course mileage and elevation profiles:

To make this MBK race even more special, the Boulder Racing promoters are close to getting Davis Phinney, the last winner of the Coors Classic in 1988, to be there as race marshall. If Davis Phinney wasn't cool enough, the word is his son, Taylor "Mini" Phinney, recent World Champ in 4k Pursuit, will also be making an appearance. Taylor is planned to be there signing autographs before the Pro 1-2 race. And last but not least, all podium placers in each race category will be awarded a collectible "Mini" Phinney World Champion bobblehead in addition to the original prize list:

Sooo, if you missed the Koppenberg registration the first time around, here's your chance to be part of local cycling history for years to come. Don't miss it. M-B-frickin-K. I can't wait to hear more info from Boulder Racing / ACA as the race date gets closer!