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Entries in MTB (65)

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.

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.

Short track...before it was cool

I robbed this from TJ. I LUSTED these days of mountain biking. I remember them well. Check out Mike King and Lopes. They both looked like they were about to die crossing the finish line in slow motion. But check out this indoor course! Sick!

Beaver Crick....

10,000 feet. Yup, it hurts when you're trying to male yourself hurt. And I tried to make myself hurt. And so....I hurt.

The fam and I were invited by our dear friends and neighbors up to their place in Edwards which is a small village near Beaver Creek. They basically hijacked us to take us away from the grind here these days and to get our minds off the blah. Awesome times were had. Kids all over the place playing and lots of solid beers sunk (side note: the Tommyknocker Imperial Nut Brown Ale is one of the finest Browns I've ever imbibed...Thanks Gord!).

Being up there, I decided to take advantage of the thin air so I rolled hard up through and in-between the epicness of Beaver Creek and Eagle Vail. It was delicious singletrack of the rooty-twisty-shit-eating-grin kind. While rolling, I had some nice moments of clarity thinking about this coming cross season. I'm as excited as ever for yet another season of the changing leaves. But I need to really think about what I want this year and temper it all with some serious reality. It's already SO different than last. But maybe there's some magic still left. We'll see be the time now is so limited but it is what it is. The thoughts kept coming into focus on needing to dedicate myself to educating this sport of ours. Teaching it as often and as widely as possible....and let my personal season come in its own form the way it will. At the end of the day, I'm tired of starving myself and waking up at 5:30! Ha! The goals will be outlined soon for what they will be, as will some announcements of other changes which I'm working on and I am excited about. A focus on ed-u-muh-ka-shun of 'cross and the whole lifestyle in and around it we live here. Teaching the sport to those falling in love with it and falling hard.

More soon. Maybe less now will be more. Bring it.


Wow. Pain. It was felt in droves last night to the extent that I thought I was gonna keel over and be seriously sick. Last night was short track and I went out with big eyes but the stomach couldn't handle it. Not enough bike time these last few weeks...let alone cross eyed intervals.

The course as put on by the CU'sters was again, excellent. They know exactly how to work the most out of that dirt pile. The earlier races were in a dust bowl but by the time we raced, the light rains had started which actually cooled things down and the dust was gone but made it hard to ride wheels as the mud was collecting and spraying. I guess that's incentive to stay out front.

I got in 5th after the gun and trie dto follow Brady, Matt P and Brian F's wheel but 1 lap of that game and it was curtains. Sitting in never allowed my heart rate to come down either as I cranked out roughly 177bpm average and still started creeping backwards. So, all said and done, I recorded a big fat goose egg last night with a DNF. I felt absolutely horrible and while my motto has always been: 'you finish no matter what', I broke my promise in literal fear that I was going to be sick. I love the early season....

Good training none the less and I thank you Nick for yelling that to me, mate. More means more right now until I need less to mean more. Got me?

Photo credit to John 'I Love Beer' Bevans.

Flattencracker 50!

I slept very little last night. My body in absolute tumult. Heart rate elevated, sweating....

Can endurance mountain biking actually be good for your body? Ha!

I completed the Firecracker 50 yesterday folks and I will say this: Best mountain bike race I ever participated in and invariably the most suffering I've ever willingly put myself through on a bike. Sick. Lemme give you the skinny...

Bobby and I packed up after grabbing some Moe's and a coffee about 7:30. We bombed up in no time to Breckenridge, the 9000' home to Timmy The Truth Faia, and of course the Firecracker. We quickly found the registration area and it was a perfectly run assembly line. UCI officials directing me to the appropriate line and I was completely registered, numbered and handed a huge schwag bag in roughly 7 minutes (and there were 900 racers!). I would be racing in group 3, the Open Men's 35-39 which was one of the 12 National Championship categories. It was clear the gauntlet would be thrown.

We cruised down N. Main street where the 4th of July parade was to be and 1000's of people amassed. The racers, all 900 of them, would be the kickoff to the parade. Each wave followed out their group leader carrying a sign back up N. Main through this massive tunnel of noise and people in a neutral start. Yours truly had to pull a wheelie for a few 100 yards. It was rad as I'd hear so many friends yell out 'Greg!!' in that crowd which was super cool and motivating.

We started the race on a giant paved climb and having never done a marathon before, I did not know how to race this thing so my plan was to just chill on the first lap, and try to race it on the 2nd lap. I set my own tempo and rolled it, The first group of contenders got their game on immediately and were gone. Impressive. You could tell stars and bars were the motivator.

I'm not going to describe all details of the course. but the profile here should say it all:
A shark's mouth to say the least. The course featured initially all pavement and dirt road then cherry singletrack followed by dodgy rock strewn descents. In the middle is this ridiculous climb that saw most of teh racers walk as it got congested and was 16% and rock strewn. Combine all of this into 2 laps and it was staged to be an epic.

So lap one and I'm still conserving. Tim F rolls by me on a song doing a lap for the team he was racing on (I was doing solo but the Team thing looks like a solid idea for next year...). We chatted and I'm like: "Dude, I have NO idea how fast to go!" Scared to blow up. He's like "Just roll it! Have fun!". And so I did...

I start feeling good and decide to drill it. I rail this singletrack and bomb into the aforementioned rock strewn down hill. 10 meters in and 'pssssssssssssssst'. F-BOMB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OK, rookie move of the year on my part: NEVER put on a set of tires you've never ridden before the night before a race. Total schmoe move!

100 feet from the last flat: 'Psssssssssssst-flap flap flap flap flap flap.....' F-BOMB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Again! I think I must have not seated the bead right as that tube comes popping out and get sliced on a rock in seconds. I never carry two tubes but decided to on this day to carry two 'just in case'. So, I change that one, taking time to ensure I get that thing beaded on right and again start the decent, this time making it down.

As I'm changing that 2nd tube racers are continually bombing the hill and get the wheel on and start going. And then I hear:

"Argghfnaphoooomph." "Racer down!" Down past me walks Taro and he's banged up bad. Messed up bike, bloody leg, crooked finger. He gets on with it and goes on to finish top 10 in the single speed class! You are a warrior, T.

I continue on and finally finish the first of 25 miles, pulling through the start/finish at about 2:32 or so if i recall with all my tire drama and into the massive crowd waiting there. So, yours truly needed to wheelie through like the geek that I am.

A couple of notes before I go on: this race ROCKED in terms of organization. The aid/water stations were SO well run with hoards of people handing you EVERYTHING you need. I started the race with one bottle and simply grabbed what I wanted from Gataorade to Clif products, you name it. Incredible. The first lap, I mowed through 2 bags of Clif blocks. Coming through the start finish for my 2nd lap, I grab more food and a fresh bottle and take stock. I am feeling OK, not great, but thinking I can push the tempo for the next 25 miles. "Can you do another one, Greg?". Yup, and I pressed on back up the initial climb.

I settled in again and tempo'd up the first climb and into the single track. By the time the 'death climb' reared its head again, the leg spasms started. Holy crap. I thought I was drinking enough. I pull off and walk up the climb and the leg feels better. The inner quad stops convulsing. This dude gets off near me as well and starts SCREAMING. "Oh my God! Oh my GOD!". Cramping as well. It's like he was shot. I continue to hear him through the woods for the next FIVE minutes! "OH GOD!!!!. NO!!!". I start laughing uncontrollably. And that's when I farted.

Something was REALLY going on with my stomach as well. I'd laugh a bit, and a little fart would come out. My stomach was wreaked from all those Clif blocks. I continue to clench my but cheeks at about mile 35 and just roll it, trying not to laugh.

I get back on the lush singletrack after the death climb and pop a few gears down and roll again As hard as I can. I start the same rocky descent down I double flatted on. Intentionally going a bit more gingerly.

'Pssssssssssssst' F-BOMB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The THIRD ONE! I have no more tubes and start bombing it down the trail on foot. A guy comes bombing down behind me on his Niner 29'er and I just ask: "Man, can you spare a tube?" Homie stops and takes his own good time to hand me a tube.

Sean (or Shaun/Shawn)? YOU ARE AN ANGEL. I know the Karma gods will bless you. You are a TRUE racer.

I get that 3rd flat squared away as I miraculously have some Big Air left, check the bead, fill 'er up and remount and head on down. I've roughly 10 miles and I am DONE. I roll smoothly for another 4 miles or so past the last aid station and into singletrack.

'Pssssssssssssssssssst' YOU ARE F-ING KIDDING ME!!!! I start to laugh again and a CR250R-like fart comes out so I stop laughing. AGAIN an angel appears. Some HUGE guy on a 29'er single speed and he doesn't even stop but comes near, hands me a tube and yells "Rock on man!!!"

WHOEVER YOU ARE, I LOVE YOU! This is what racing is meant to be.

So I get THAT tube squared away and have one road air cartridge in my pack left as the Big Air is shot. It fills up but not as much as I'd like. Probably like 32 PSI when I'd wanted 40. So I roll, gingerly again and into the single track. I am literally in the final descent. I can HEAR the announcer. I have like 1.2 miles to go! Home free!


Flat No. 4. I do not laugh.

I literally hike and try to run the last 1.2 miles downhill. All the way down the switch backs to the start finish. I get on the grass and it's roughly 50 feet to the finish line. People are cheering! I am totally shot and but when I see all these people cheering the finishers, I smile! I get back on the bike and pull a one-handed wheelie across the finish line and people are going nuts! It was worth every ounce of sweat.

I finish up in like 5 hours 30 minutes with my 4 flats and my lovely mile hike through the woods.

I am so wasted when I finish I am sort of in this drunk like state. I feel like that scene in Saving Private Ryan when all those dudes are trying to ask Tom Hanks what to do and he can't hear them. "Keller, you want a beer?". It comes in as hollow echos. I have another 15 minute walk to the car where I finally make it, open up the back and sit down. I collect myself and reflect on what an EPIC day it was. I got pissed for like 3 minutes, and then just shook my head and laughed. And yes, farted again. Absolute body turmoil.

So hear I am, back in Boulder, just awoken from my crappy sleep. I am so lucky to be able to do this. I'll be back next year for the fun.


I've been summoned.

Bobby and the WB were not going to let me skip out on this. I need it. I'm going to pilot my carcass up and over that shark tooth profile tomorrow for 50 miles. Yum. Reports forthcoming.

Short Trackin'...week two

Photo Credit Daily Camera
Week 2(for me) of the Short Track series, sports fans. The thunder and lightning was just dangling over our heads last night but the rains never came to create the mud-bath the first week saw in week 1 at the CU Short Track series at the lovely dirt pile...a.k.a. the Research Center.

I rolled down and prepped for the men's A race at 7:10 and found that the CU folks had built yet another super fast and jump riddled course. Perfect. I had a ball warming up on the course, jumping some of the ol' dirt piles and by 7 felt decent....even for not having the training in my legs. With no rain, the Research Park was an unbelievable dust bowl with choking and unbearable dust making it hard to see lines! My contacts were shrivling up as I was pre-riding!

Each class had huge fields and the A's were no different I managed a 2nd row position and was able to be in the top 20-25 when the gun went off. Not great but hey, it's training. With each lap, I seemed to feel better. I was abel to pick dudes off and aim for the next guy and bridge up...and repeat the process. By the closing laps, my teammates were by the sidelines yelling at me for some reason. Then a dim light bulb went off and as I went by a corner, I yelled at Batey: Dude, is that the chase group??" And he's like "Well, YES! Bridge up there mate!" in his best Manchester accent. I had kept consistent lap times and had bridged to the train trying to catch Fuentes and my team mate Baker, who were crushing it. By the end, I think I sneaked in the top 10 by hooking up with and out sprinting some of the folks in that train, but we'll see. I haven't seen teh results. It's a training race though fer cryin' sakes.

Boups, the Garmin-loving entity that he is, brought me a brand new Garmin Forerunner 305 to try out from his store. So he strapped me up and he downloaded all the data. So sick, these things! Apparently, I did run some super consistent lap times. Not scorchers but diesel train-ish. I felt springy out of the corners and I guess the best part is to see my heart rate increase up to and through the last lap. In other words, I got better as the (short) race wore on.

Lastly, the Daily Camera did an article on CU's taking-over of the Short track series. Youo can read it all here. But they got a good shot of my boy Batey in teh White Sex Oakley Hincapies at the A race last week (see main picture at the top). That's me back there behind the Jelly Belly dude, no. 22. Rock on.

Father's Day Ned-ic

Fatherhood. I wouldn't even know where to begin if I were to blog about being a dad. It's nothing short of miraculous. And there are many dimensions to that miracle. From seeing your child born to their first gut laugh to walking to talking to running to riding to controlling your impulse to duct tape them up into a ball and put them in the closet when they whine.....well, it just goes fast. The work is put in every day by my wife and me to focus on these children growing up healthy, happy and most of all, as respectful gentleman. Yeah, we're in the full on 'poopy' phase where they fall apart in ball uncontrollably laughing if they hear the word poo or see a diaper, but as my mom has told me countless times: "Choose your battles." So I've got that going for me....

So like all good Hallmark Holidays, dad's get theirs too. And the fellas did it up right. Today was the epic, or now called, the Ned-ic. An apparent record was set on the RTD bus to Ned today according to the driver who was overseeing the loading of the bikes into the belly of the bus. I wish I had counted, but it was packed to say the least.

The Boulder Cycling Mafia was fairly well represented today, save for Bobby who rode 8 hours Saturday and followed that up with 24 beers in fast succession. Sorry you missed the Ned-ic, Bobby. We had The Torrence bros in the house, Waltworks, FRZ, J-Fry and Bri....too many to name.

When we got to Ned and unloaded, we began our journey. By the time we got to the high school, we split ways with quite a few of the folks and the 'Lucky 7' shaked out. We were led by Dave "I will NOT get you lost, I've got a GPS" Weber, Freeride Zach, Nick Stevens, Antonio G, IMBA Drew, Rob "I am Gonna show you some" Love and yours truly. We threw it down for roughly 3:45, which does not seem like an 'epic', but 4000' of altitude gain at 8-9K feet over 40 miles is a good'un in my book.

Dave W did NOT disappoint. He actually scouted this the weekend before with that GPS and my GOD, we were on literal pristine technical singletrack for MILES. This one section in the vicinity of Lump Gulch was so sick, I started to pop a....OK, trying to keep this a clean site. We traversed up this technical rock climb that required tons of body English and insane power to get up and over. Tons of matches burned but it felt too damn good.

Wheelies pulled, tabletops launched, some skin lost, swerving in and out of trees. My God, what a day to be alive and healthy. It was insane to see these parts of our state that even core MTB'ers rarely see. SO, with fried legs and limited liquids. we made our way back to Boulder and celebrated by ceremonially dipping in the Boulder Creek. the muscles thanked me.

I am DEFINITELY buying a GPS. Tools like Google Earth are sick. I can not comprehend how you can see in 3D the ride we were on today....all driven from Dave's Garmin.

Jail Time for Marin Trail Builder

Maybe the Larimer County issue out here ain't all that bad. Check this story out in the Marin Independent Journal. And when you get to the MIJ web page, there is a little Voting widget there to gauge your opinion. MAKE SURE YOU VOTE!