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Entries in Hall Ranch (5)

To drop or be dropped: The MTB epics have begun

It's safe to say that the epics are on like Donkey Kong to quote my main man Dave Towle. 4.5 hours yesterday with some of the other fellas on the ride we linked up with out for 6. We're getting snow out here in Boulder which is great, but it's amazing how quickly it melts and gives us perfectly tacky and miraculously dry conditions. The best of all worlds.

The crew hooked up at Heil, some riding there, Matty an I driving due to time constraints (even though Bobby thinks we're getting soft). We had, Rob Batey, Matt Opperman, Bobby Noyes, The Longest Man, Jason Vogel and last but certainly not least, the wonder twin powers of the Torrance brothers.
The ride we did is basically a truncated version of the "Boulder Epic"...which would start typically in Boulder and traverse Eagle Trail etc to get you to Heil Ranch, then on the way into the woods. Today, for Matty and I anyways, would be a section Heil Ranch which included the full length of the Wild Turkey Trail, we intersect with the new Picture Rock Connector trail dump out into Lyons CO and then meander over to the Antelope climb of the Hall Ranch trail system where we'd do a loop of the Nelson Loop at the top and descend Hall's notorious rock garden descent. From there it's back up the Picture Rock connector, into Heil and home.
The conditions of the trails were insane. Nice and tacky. The reality is (and anyone who rides the Heil/Picture network frequently will say the same), it's unbelievable rocky. Glacial till and exposed rock make the ride less 'flowy' but more a sustained series of shocks to the body. You actually do have to flow as best as possible to be smooth and keep momentum over the trail system as its entire length is like a technical challenge. I do this ride often but the pace we were going yesterday and the frequency of hauling the bike up and over the rocks challenges by yanking on the bars to table up and over these things and I feel like Mike Tyson beat the snot out of me.
The beginning half of the day I felt no chain. Rolling nicely....and it's no wonder as my ride lengths up to yesterday have been like in the 1.5-2 hour range. Yesterday truly broke the cherry! Matty Opp and I railed on our 29'ers through all of the stuff at break neck pace with the Torrance bros and Batey railing in tow. By the time we got to Hall, my bike literally started to come undone, XTR brakes (pieces of shit...and I need to upgrade to Avid soon!) effectively clamping down on my rotors. Oh, and the body felt it was doing the same! I had all the food in the world and felt no bonk, but the legs were so loaded it was incredible by the 3rd hour. Bobby (here's your shout out Bobby) literally had to say 'on your left' as he dropped me at Hall. Don't worry sports fans, he gets his.
On the way back up Picture Rock at roughly hour 3.5 I'm going psychotic with my rotors going scwhing scwhing scwhing scwhing scwhing scwhing scwhing scwhing scwhing scwhing with that high pitched rub. I wanted to huck the thing. I'd get off and literally YANK the rotor as I swear I think they bowed with the amount of action they got. By this time Bobby, who decided to turn the screws to the stragglers suffering some bike lengths behind with an all out attack, has a leg implosion (I swear I heard it through the woods...sort of like a 'pop!') and we see him essentially dead, buzzards circling above. I leave him with a Gu and some words of advice on how to survive in the wild overnight, and we leave his ass. (HA!...kidding...on the leaving part).
We all get back to Heil ~4.5 hours later, legs baked and toasty. Bike basically steaming. Matty Opp is way too fit for this time of year (start drinking Matt) and the Torrance bros couldn't tag team to reel the kid in. Batey I think wants revenge for getting dropped by the T's as well. Don't worry Batey, they're not half as good looking as you are, so you've got that going for you.

So that's it. Recovery ride today and we begin more of these character building assaults on our bodies from here on in. Also. some crappy YouTube. I ran out of free HD time on Vimeo this week.

How Valentine's Day was spent...

It is extremely safe to say that Amy and I are 'anti-holiday' types. Love is a 24/365 day, in fact, takes no holidays as far as we are concerned. We inject it into our lives everyday, well, because we l-o-v-e each other and don't need some contrived Hallmark card to express what we can say to each other every day. I mean, wouldn't you rather say the words you mean, rather than having them created for you by some college intern at some mega-card company who's going to smoke a bowl and party with his college buds that night....just as soon as he finishes his latest creation...

Love. It continues to blossom between you and I like the flower I gave you the night we first met.

GAG. I thought so. So, Amy and I went for a ride....

We hooked up a snowy Hall Ranch and finished up with a Valentine's lunch at Oskar Blues. Some Leroy Browns and some soup....yum. The ride was such a purge for us. The tension has built again on Side 3 of the Three Part Teeter Totter and it's scraping the and riding not being able to re-balance things for me....for us. I will say though that it isn't for a lack of trying and pushing....if not simply flicking...the dominoes we need in our family to instigate the change we so desire.

Believe in it.

Watching my lady ride is something else. She drilled it in pretty adverse conditions at Hall with snow covering most of the ride. She's not used to it but was PRO as she navigated all of the madness back there. We just took it all in and again embraced life...our kids....the family and life we've made...and the promise of things yet to come here in Boulder. It's good. Scratch that: it's great.

Yes. This is Colorado.
My Ahrens Revolver 29'er may undergo a 1 x 1 conversion. Stay tuned.
Self port.
Amy in awe of the beauty today.


Valentine's Day lunch...

My love...laying wood on the MTB today.

Long's Peak. a 14'r in our back yard.

At peace.

Amy at Hall 1 from Gregory Keller on Vimeo.

Picture Rock

Today is MLK Day, a National Holiday. For many it is a day off of work, for others it's business as usual. Pete and I both had to punch in to the clock at our respective quarries today but not before we got in a little pre-work ride in the still insane January weather out here in Boulder: 65 and sunny!

We hit Picture Rock Trail, having started from Heil and it was spicy. Dry and flowy and epic. Perfect. Pete was instrumental in the development of Picture Rock and now Valmont Bike Park as one of the most sought after trail designers in the country. It's great riding with him as he'll tell you everything on the history of the land, to the challenges in getting approvals for trails, to the type of rock we're riding over to making trails sustainable. Long live IMBA!

If you want to see a great gallery of the building of Picture Rock, hit Mountain Bike Mike's Picassa gallery. I just snapped a few...

The Great Wall of Heil
Pete waxing poetic on the nuances of trail building
The Great Wall if Heil....close up.

Bicycle-induced anesthesia

Friday was one of those days you don't want to have. It was a day where I needed to play manager and to a larger extent, overseer of our business. Issues arose and they needed to be solved to ensure continuity and at the core, a copacetic group of team members who can communicate and proceed to do the right thing for the business.

Drama must end. I needed to let someone go.

Terminating someone's employment is never easy. But each time I am forced to do this, or an old friend leaves this business, it is interesting in "modern times" how the right of passage (at least for me) in acknowledging the departure of a coworker is when I move them from the ''Work Folks" bucket to the "Friends" bucket in my IM's. Sad but true. The simple click/drag/drop from one simple IM bucket to another helps me with closure. At least I think it does. It sucks regardless.

What also helps me with tough weeks is turning the brain to channel zero as I write about constantly. I do this with rides....especially rides with those I consider close friends and team mates which always helps focus on them, and not 'real life' for a while. Today, il squadra's ride was super fun and fast and woodsy and windy....and epic. Today, we railed Hall Ranch with the Rocky Mounts boys (and girl!). More on this below by way of pictures.

Some other things that helped me fight through the toughness of the week: White Sex Arriveth. I laughed to myself when the box arrived from our team deal with Boulder Cycle Sport when I normally would have been a surly beeatch due to the work drama. I literally said to myself, "Ah, the white." And I laughed a laugh to myself.

My wife saw me holding the new white goodness while maniacally smiling, and made HUGE fun of me. "Ah, nice, Greg. More white shoes. You are a little bitch." And then I walked out to my workshop and laid the new set of Sidis by his brothers. And I realized, I am Imelda Frigging Marcos.....

And the realization was understood. And it was momentary. I am a bitch, yes. But I am a sexy bitch. I will deal with my Marcosian issues at some point in the future. Maybe next year. Maybe after I quit sniffing Testers Model Airplane Glue.
I shall not apologize.

The new Dragon SRS are carbon this year. Some small style changes but fit like a glove again. 10 year sin Sidis. There is no finer shoe. Should you want to debate me on this point, save it.

We got to Hall Ranch and I pulled up with my new 9'er on my grocery getter.
And then the WB pulls up in his grocery getter. This is how the boy rolls. He, like it, is like buttah.

RM was in effect. None of us had on our new Verge kits...none of which fit the entire team after a $25K order. But that is another story...

The WB needs to eat. But for those of you out for a spot on the podium of the MSC, you will need to beat him. You ave been warned.

We almost all got blown over like dominoes at the top of Hall.

Holy crap on a stick. She climbs well. She rails like a BMX bike with 29 inch wheels. She is balanced. The Revolver is so un-f-ing-believably sick, I do not know what to say. Miguel built me the perfect bike. Note the tightness of this bike. I;d say maybe another 1/2 to 1" on the chain stay but it is so dialed as is, I am not sire if it would be a detriment to handling characteristics. More in an upcoming review....

Gregoire and Wals. RM elder statesmen railing it today.

Encore of Za crew

And again....

The Couchinator smiles....and did Hall on his 'cross bike. Good boy.

Weekend frolics and lunchtime rides

The non-racing weekend for me ended up being great. 3 1/2 hours on the 1 x 1 looping Hall was absolutely what the body needed. OK, maybe not needed but the grins were there while turning the 32 x 16...sort of like Chris Horner grins in a poker face sort of way no matter if he's soft pedaling or winning stages in the T d Suisse.

Sunday my wife and I rolled for 3. She is a capital 'A' animal. The gears she turns are stupid. Retarded big. "Honey, you're in the 53 14. Knock it back." Wife: "Oh, shoot, sorry."

Lunchtime ride today with my office mate down in Littleton on the paths. Brought out the new Rock Lobster and it is so dialed. When's cross. Where's Mol?

Horner pic courtesy of