Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bye Bye 2008

Hall Ranch for one last ride.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Ice at the Reservoir

Growing up in a dry land-locked state, I never experienced a lot of water around. Even Colorado, being land-locked has more water than my native state of New Mexico. And being colder, the lakes are generally frozen in the Winter.

I came across the freeze effects of the Boulder reservoir on Christmas day while riding. Not only were their odd sounds echoing on the ice due to cracks. There was this frozen wave of ice pushing outward.





I was so fascinated, I didn't know what to do. My hands were so cold, I could hardly shoot. I plan to get out again.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cheap lighting

Well not super cheap since I had to use my expensive flash. But I made a cheapo cardboard softbox (aka a large diffused light source) for softer lighting than just a flash. Making it was simple. I taped some white paper on a cardboard box, cut a hole for my flash and inserted my flash at an angle. I could probably improve the performance by lining the inside of the box with aluminum foil but I just wanted to see the effect


Update: I added foil by lining the sides and placing a long diagonal piece from the top behind the flash to the bottom edge. This improved the output by reflecting much of the lost light in the direction of the while paper.

And example shot using this box with a pair of sunglasses.


Sunday, December 07, 2008

Ride out East

I never venture East of my house other than the East Boulder trail or Niwot, but due to the snow, and suspected wet conditions, I needed some pavement. I'm tired of my normal trek North and my usual commute route south and since the mountains to the West might have snow, I decided to try something new. Go East man, go East.

I rode the farm roads around to Erie and back.

It seemed to be a ride where I noticed a lot of energy extraction. I found irony in the oil well cranking away while I was cranking away on my bike as I rode by.


Then the corn field with a well.


Then, Erie, a town founded on coal mining.


It was a fun ride actually. After living here 14 years, I saw some places that I had never seen before. Riding the bike makes it even better because at 15 mph, it's so much easier to get the full feeling and the scents of cow pastures that are out east. Yummy!

PS: I actually found some dry trail to ride on the way back. Boulder dried out fast after this last storm. Ready for another please.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cold Weather Riding Gloves

Just like tires, I'm always trying to find the perfect glove. And just as ground conditions vary, so does weather.

The ideal riding glove keeps the hands warm, and especially the fingers that are on the handlebar exposed to moisture and the wind, yet not allow the hands to overheat, sweat and make the glove wet. Plus, they should have great mobility so the rider can still shift and brake--A tall order.

Here is the set of gloves I usually use from the fall through spring.

1. Some off the market Azonic brand. It's a normal full fingered glove but because it has some neoprene, it makes a great glove when the temps are above 50F. In fact, despite sweating hands, it makes a great glove at 90 deg temps too. It's one of my favorite gloves. I wish I had gotten a couple more sets. The nice patch on the back is soft and good for wiping sweat and snot. It's a very soft glove and never gets stiff after drying out.

2. Seirus ultra-light. I got this glove with high expectations after owning a glove from Seirus. This is a nice soft lined glove with leather palms and breathable back. It feels like it would be a nice warm glove. Unfortunately, it's not as warm as I expected. It's good from around 35 F to 50 F but the fuzzy liner is not all that breathable and it seems to be poor at wind resistance. Wind is a real issue on a bike because even if there is no wind, riding a bike creates effective wind.

3. Seirus all-weather. This is a great glove. It's light and agile and very breathable. It's also wind resistance but unfortunately, it's less waterproof than claimed. I have been caught in sleet and cold rain storms --and froze my fingers. Maybe the waterproofing wore off. It also had a nice grip that wore off fast and without it, it's kinda slippery. I use it in temps from around 35 F to 45 F.

4. Pearl Izumi Amphibian. This is the best glove I have ever used. It seems to work at nearly any temperature below 35 F. It's not as breathable as one might want but when I'm using it, my hands are not likely sweating. I have rarely had cold fingers using this, despite it being a five-finger glove.

5. Pear Izumi Lobster. The extreme choice. Everyone knows that mitts are best for warm fingers but it's hard to ride a bike in mitts. Thus, split the fingers and make a hybrid. The lobster. It's not quite as agile as a five-finger but it does give protection beyond what the amphibian does. Usually when I wear this glove, the temps are below zero F and my toes and face are my main concern.


If I had to recommend the "kit" it would be a glove like the Azonic + the Amphibian. Those cover a majority of all riding. That is unless your climate is a lot different than the front range of Colorado.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


A little coating of snow on the ground. I had to ride but it will be short lived.



Monday, November 24, 2008

More Bike Trail in Boulder

After many years of getting the short end of the stick as far as access in Boulder, we have yet another piece of Mountain Bike trail opening.

This is in addition to the High-plains trail and Doudy Draw trails opened in the last two years. The new loop is a 2.5 mile piece called the Spring Brook trai. It will be open in early December. It's also in addition to Boulder Counties recent trail projects; Wild Turkey and Picture Rock.

The Boulder Mountain Bike Patrol attended a pre-ride vetting of the loop this past Saturday.

More here along with information on the bike patrol.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Warm Dry Night

So nice to ride a bike on dry trails when it's like this. It's nice to have this over a month of solid ice. Will this continue?

I hope so..least on the front range. But a nice huge dump of snow in the mountains would be great too.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Indian Summer weather in Boulder, CO

And even warmer days in store this week. 75 F forecast for Tuesday.

A sample from my Hall Ranch ride from yesterday. It was rather dead on the trail and seeing it completely dry mid November was amazing as well.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Old and pharmed up

This is what your counter looks like when you get old.

...or in my case, when my dog gets old.

Nala gets a total of 6.5 pills twice a day. She has respiratory problems that are common in over-bred huskies and she currently has a yeast infection all over her body. We grabbed Nala from the humane society almost 12 years ago, but despite the woes, she is a good catch. I can't imagine Nala not in our life. She is a happy girl.

One thing is for sure, the steroids she is on, makes her so hungry, getting her to eat the rest of the pills is no problem at all.

Nala after a nice bath with some special soap.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Riding near 10,000 feet in November

Usually it's snowed in by now. We enjoyed the opportunity.

Global Warming?

17 miles and 2300 feet of rockiy climbing with the best DH on the front range was a November gift.

Friday, October 31, 2008

This is cool

I wish I could have witnessed this large meteor crossing Colorado at 76,000 mph on Tuesday night.

From Cloudbait Observatory

The videos on the site are spectacular.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Same bits, ..a new thing to hold them together.

...while playing with lighting techniques.

2008 Turner 5-spot with parts from another bike.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Things in the garage

Naked bike chicks and naked frames on the! Heaven.

Going to put some parts on it this weekend (the frame not Marla) and jump on.

Monday, October 20, 2008

It's called WRIAD

It's an acronym for White-Rim-In-A-Day, WRIAD. The White Rim trail in Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

The white rim trail is 102 miles long--a loop that encircles a section north of the confluence of the Green River and the Colorado River within the park. There are several campsites and there are exciting opportunities to hike and bike here. One common activity is to do a multi-day sag-wagon trek on bikes around the canyon, sleeping at various campsites along the way. These trips are excellent and fun and usually involve camping two to three nights during the trip. I have done this twice and highly recommend it.

There is also the option of just riding it all in one shot, like the jeepers do. Like many endurance cyclists do.

That is what we did this past weekend.

Michael, Rob and I arrived in the area Friday afternoon and set up a nice little cooler of water and food near the entrance to Canyonlands National Park. We then drove west on Mineral Bottom road and down into the canyon seeking a nice campsite. That section of the trail is BLM land so camping is fine without a permit.

We found an excellent site just a few miles from the steep hill we planned to ride up the next morning. Our plan was to ride clockwise up the canyon and East on Mineral Bottom road hitting our cache and filling up for the remaining 80 miles.

We chowed-up on spaghetti with meatballs and salad along with a beer before crashing early. The food was good and filling. The beer was soothing.

It was three days after a full-moon so the night was very bright once the moon was high in the sky. I was up around 3:00 am viewing a very spectacular canyon in admiration. I tried to take a photo but without a tripod or stable platform, it was too difficult.

Up at 5:00 am, we made coffee and breakfast and loaded our packs. We left at 6:30 am in the dark with lamps ablaze.

After a nice flat warm-up of a couple miles, we climbed out of the canyon to Mineral Bottom road. It was a nice climb in the dark. Steep but manageable.

At the top, which took about an hour to get to, the sun was rising. We had climbed 1000 feet already. Whoo Hoo.

The next 12 miles on Mineral Bottom road must be the longest and most boring riding ever. But I have to say, at least it was cool and smooth.

Then there was the five miles of even more boring pavement to Shafer trail.

This was when I found my water bottle cage broken--out came the zip-ties.

Anticipation of the views was exciting though.

We climbed 2300 feet and are ready to get our cache and enter the park. Michael is not feeling the vibe. We discussed it and he decided that he'd rather not chance it and just go back. Rob and I pushed onward (Later we will find that Michael made a good choice). We grabbed our food and two bladders of water. My food was two turkey sandwiches, two chocolate milks, trail mix, two Bobo bars and another bottle of Gatorade. Rob took around five sandwiches, pretzels and other stuff.

My pack seemed to weigh too much--25+ lbs. Luckily it was downhill for a while.

On the way down Shafer trail.

The views of course are overwhelming...and continuous. Out in the distance are features and every few miles the White Rim trail skirts to the edge of a canyon that usually has a dramatic cliff.

Musselman Arch was early on our stops.

There were many more

The trail seemed endless. Miles 35 to 50 were very rough. Rob and I sought out the dirt edges of the slickrock were were riding on. I normally hate sand but any smooth sand here was a welcomed feeling.

After 60 or so miles we encountered Murphy's hogback. It was very steep. Normally it's steep, but after all the riding, it was very steep, I mean too steep.

Once Past Murphy's hogback, there we were on the Green River side of the trail, and the sun was falling fast. Fatigue was setting in but the views were as spectacular as ever.

I recall mile 75 being a major point in the ride for me. I describe it as waking up with the flu, drinking several shots of hard liquor and then going on a 25 mile ride. I felt intoxicated, aching and ill, and had really no choice but to ride. I told Rob to ride ahead and make sure Michael knew were were coming. Rob was riding strong and didn't need to babysit me.

When I got to the top of Hardscrabble hill, I realized I was going to spend some time in the dark so I got out the light. I also noticed my drive train was packed in sand and crunching so I poured oil on it. I slipped on my arm warmers and set out for my final 10 miles. I could feel that sense of urgency and survival instinct already setting in.

Those ten miles were rough. It was dark, my eyes were playing games with my brain, there was loose sand everywhere that I couldn't see even with my light and I was wiped out.

I recall looking at my cycle computer and GPS, thinking I might have gone a half mile and all I went was a tenth. It was brutal and long.

Finally I rounded a corner and saw the light of our camp, 11 hours of riding and 13.5 hours of total time elapsed. I almost collapsed when I got to the campsite but the feeling of finishing gave me the last jolt of adrenaline that kept me on my feet.

It was amazing. It was hell. It was over.

The lessons I learned:

--My shoulders were the most sore part of my body. I was worried about sand and saddle sores but never expected my shoulders to ache--and they really hurt.

--If Michael had driven back toward me and I met him at 15 miles before the end, I would have given up without hesitation--I was even hoping for it. You can push yourself a lot longer than you think, even if you are suffering to the point of severe pain.

--I read about a lot of people riding this and thought it would be easy with moderate training. I trained by riding a lot of 40+ mile rides on easy trails and roads and think I really didn't train enough.

--We stopped too often. 2.5 hours of stopping was a long time. Oddly, we never realized we stopped that much.

--I would rather get up earlier and ride more in the dark when I'm fresh than in than at the end when I'm wiped out.

--Tire choice really didn't matter. The sand wasn't all the bad.

--Camp at the end of the ride. Driving somewhere else is a crazy notion and just adds to the suffering--even if someone else is driving.