Finding Adventure...

The Once A Year Punch In the Face

Ever learn your lesson the hard way?  Of course you have.  We all do.  But what lessons do you seem to have to learn the hard way regularly?

Backstory: I learned a couple years ago about the virtue of arm warmers.  In particular, I love SmartWool brand arm warmers.  And it's been "arm warmer season" now for pretty much two months.  So I've put them on quite a few times already.  But like last year and the year before, at some point, the inevitable happens....

You see, if you get in a hurry putting them on, you'll try to pull them up a little too fast.  And you're usually looking at what you're doing, and pulling them up fast once they get near the shoulder means you're likely to let it slip...and BLAM.  You punch yourself right in the nose.  Not hard enough to do damage, but in my case it seems like it's always hard enough to make my eyes water. 

So, arm warmers are awesome.  Just be careful with the installation.  The world is dangerous enough without senseless violence that could be avoided if we all just take our time putting our arm warmers on.  And by all means, if you're going to learn this lesson, try learning it just once, not every year like SOME people I know.
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Hell, and the freezing and whatnot


So I'm normally the guy that laughs at people who get stuck in the grass after it's been especially wet.  Unfortunately, today I could only laugh at myself.  Ashley had to be at church early, so me and the kids came separately.  I was "on time" for church, which means cutting it kind of close, but still, we were there in time to get inside long before the music stopped.  But it was a big day at church, and the parking lot appeared to be already bulging when I got there.  And I was in the van, which is kind of large.  So when I saw a spot where I could back in on the grass and not be in a tight parking space nor in anyone's way, I decided to jump in it right quick.  Only it was downhill just a touch and it was REALLY soft due to recent rain.  I felt it the moment I backed in, but it was too late.  Just started spinning.

Ugh.  Normally I would have not worried too much about it and just gone to services and waited until most of the parking lot was empty afterward and dealt with it then.  But today we had baseball at 2pm in Pittsboro, so we needed to be gone right when church ended to have any time to grab food at a drive-thru and get there in time for Zach to warm up.  So instead of going to services, I went and found Ashley and had her pull me out with her Pilot after services started.  By some stroke of luck I did have a tow strap in the van, but didn't have anything to attach it with.  But I used some bike rack parts on one end and random piece of metal on the other and made it work.  But it still took a good 15 minutes and my shoes were pretty gross from the mud, so we went ahead and just went and sat down to eat lunch and then went to baseball.

That's a little bad luck, but also something I should have known better to do to begin with.  Just like this past Friday night, when I took Kevin and Zach out to eat at a local Mexican restaurant.  We ordered, ate, and then when the bill came I realized I had NO MONEY.  Somehow I had forgotten my wallet.  Fortunately they were quite understanding and I was able to call them with my credit card number when I got home.  Which was also kind of dumb, since I actually do KNOW my American Express number and could have just given them that on site.  It's been a pretty mediocre weekend.

But that brings us to the hell freezing thing.  For the longest time I've said I had no urge to do a long running race, but I've found I have almost no running motivation these days, even though I really need to do it to help my mountain biking as well as for the cross training benefits.  I used to run both for those reasons and because I thought at some point I'd learn to swim and work on being a triathlete.  But I've mostly given up on the triathlon idea, which has led to less running motivation.  So I figured a good way to get some motivation back might be to run a half marathon.

Yeah, a half marathon.  You know the joke...every time someone says they ran a half marathon I think to myself "now there's someone who knows how to do things half-way."  So soon that will be me, too.  Well, "soon" is a relative term...I don't think I'm going to do a race until late January or early February, but it's time to plan it, anyway.  And thanks to Shelley, I have a time to shoot for...1:57.  That's going to be tough!
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Leadville Trail 100 Race Report

Wow.  Just...WOW.

That was one epic day.  It started with getting up at 4am so we could get to the head of the corral when it opened at 5am.  That went as planned, which was good as our corral was a full half the race and that meant there were probably around 1,000 people in it!  The race started promptly at 6:30am, and it was on!

Alan and I moved through traffic down the paved hill pretty well, but man did things stack up on the first gravel road and then even worse on the first climb.  But I settled in and did my thing and Alan set sail ahead of me and I didn't see him for a long while.  Everything was going quite as planned until I got about 15 miles in and was starting to climb the back side of the famous Powerline descent.  All the sudden my bike just started to lock up...I couldn't pedal!  I jumped off, flipped the bike over (which requires removing my GPS, which I accidentally STOPPED and didn't realize it until 13 minutes later, ugh!), and started diagnosing.  Turns out the nut that holds the cassette (the big cluster of gears on the back tire) had worked loose somehow.  I've ridden THOUSANDS of miles and this has only ever happened to me TWICE.  But still, that's something I should have checked and didn't, and it cost me.

I did not have the special tool you need to tighten that, so I made due and got it as tight as I could and took off after a few minutes, scared it was just going to happen again.  But I made it to the 27 mile aid station (Pipeline outbound), where I had been smart enough to leave a complete wheelset, with the world's most awesome crew, Matt Kimel.  We swapped to my backup rear wheel in a matter of seconds, restocked the fuel, and off I went. 

Things went very well from there through the Twin Lakes outbound aid station and to the start of the Columbine Mine climb.  That's ten miles out and the climb is about 2,800 feet of elevation gain to 12,600 feet above sea level, which is well above tree line.  Let's just say that riding that after riding 40 more miles of the course did NOT go nearly as well as the training rides!  Wow, that was brutal.  I did see Alan coming down as I was still climbing, which was cool.  Somehow I missed my friend Tammy, who is a Pro and did very well today, too.  Kind of bummed about that, but I must have had my head down grinding pretty hard when she went by.  By the time I passed Alan I was up closer to the top and was walking the steep and very loose section, so I spotted him and wished him well.

Made it to the top, grabbed some Coke and a few banana pieces from the aid station, and headed back down.  Man, I must have passed 50 people on that descent!  Generally speaking, I rode the descents within my limits and fairly safely, but I still passed TONS of people on every one.  This race attracts a lot of people that really don't do much intense mountain biking, and my riding with my local group of buddies at crazy places like Pisgah National Forest has prepared me pretty well for going downhill pretty fast.  So that was fun.  It wasn't as fun watching those same people pass me back on the next climb, though.  I need to work on that!

Every climb after Columbine was pretty tough.  The legs just didn't have the power any more.  But they kept going (with some amount of walking here and there) and I slipped my time goals just a little at each station, but not too bad for the first 2/3 of the race.  It was that last third that hosed me!  But to be fair, there was a HUGE wind this afternoon that made a section of the course MUCH slower than it would have otherwise been, and was at a point where it just sapped energy like crazy.  It should have been a soft downhill to flat to soft uphill paved section that in a group would have been easily done at 18MPH or more.  But instead we were reduced to grinding more like 12MPH.  And it hurt.

Then comes the Powerline climb.  Let's just say I had to walk almost every inch of the uphill parts.  I felt like I could have ridden some of the easier parts between the steep climbs, but every time I tried I had the strangest cramps up my inner thighs.  I've never had those before, and it was like FIRE shooting up my legs.  It only happened when I tried to pedal and walking was fine, so I kept walking and hoped something good would happen, with little expectation that it actually would.

And around this time I was doing all this walking, I started running time calculations.  Oh crap, making the 12 hour time for the silver belt buckle award (and being recognized as a "finisher" at all) was looking quite unlikely.  Especially since there was still one long climb left to another descent, and then a three mile climb back into town for the finish.  I was really worried I couldn't pedal with any power due to the cramps, which meant climbing was going to be walking, and there was too much left.

But I took some more salt supplements, kept drinking fluids (water and my nutrition drink that also had electrolytes in it), and kept moving forward.  One thing I had in my favor was I had a fifteen minute descent for my legs to rest and get fluids before that next climb, and apparently that was enough.  I wasn't fast, but I was able to pedal at about twice the same speed I could have walked up that hill.  As I worked through the woods to that last descent, the math still didn't look good.  I was pretty positive for the last hour and a half that I'd never make it.  But thanks to all the support from all my friends and family and coaches and even random people from the Internet that I've never even met, I just knew that as long as my legs would pedal, I was going to keep going.  And I did.

And that descent was fast again, and there was a four mile stretch before that last climb that was probably a soft downhill, because I averaged around 20MPH for that stretch.  As I neared the end of that stretch to start the final climb, I realized I was going to make it with a few minutes to spare.  That was quite a feeling, but then my thoughts turned to my poor family, crew, and all of you following along at home.  I figured it was going to be nerve-wracking since you guys had no idea I was so close.  Sorry about that.  It wasn't much in my control after a certain point!

But I ground out that final climb, often times with power outputs that WERE very respectable (which was quite shocking to me!) and as I approached that red carpet, I couldn't help but start crying.  The amount of climbing in this race just does something to you.  You swear over and over that current climb will be over around the next bend, only to be presented with plenty more to go.  I like to make sure I know a race course ahead of time, and I really did know this course pretty well, but yet once you're racing and doing that to your body, it affects the mind as well.  So you end up back in that same space from time to time, and that kind of thing accumulates inside somehow.  Plus, I had all that time (probably an hour) when I was pretty sure I wouldn't make it.  Then to find I could, pretty much only 20 minutes from the end, meant a huge release when I finally crossed that line.  Here's a picture at the finish...more good pics to come as the various race picture folks have stuff online:

And here's where I owe a huge debt of gratitude to a lot of folks.  I've mentioned my family once, but I'll do it again...they've put up with a lot of me being gone to train for this.  Amazing support.  Then my coach, Sage Rountree, who made this possible.  Without her, there's just no way I could have done this on my own.  And then there's Tammy Sadle, who was my inspiration from the beginning.  She works at Training Peaks, the site my coach and I use for our main method of communication for workout planning.  She did this race for the first time last year, and they blogged about her effort to raise money for Team First Descents and she did great her first time out.  I followed her progress, but also made a small donation to her fund raising effort, which resulted in her being nice enough to reach out to me via social media.  Seeing how well she did made me want to try it, too.  Happy to say she's a friend now, too!

And then there was Alan Bocko.  Been friends with Alan for many years, but I was pretty sure if I signed up that he'd find a way.  And he did.  And then Matt Kimel, who was cool enough to sign on as our crew for the event, including spending several weeks here in Leadville keeping me company.  You've probably read about our motorcycle adventures already.  LOOK AT MY HANDS! And thanks to Matt's family for letting him do this.  That was a big deal for them, too.  Oh, and my Chapel Hill riding crew...riding with those guys is always fun and challenging.  That crew always has multiple people in it that kick my butt on any given day.  And Santa Cruz for making awesome bicycles!

And then there's all of you folks who donated or even just supported me online.  I owe you so many thanks.  I really didn't want to let you down, and I hope I did you proud.  I thought about every one of you at some point on this long day, I promise.  Thank you all so much for all the kind words of support.  It really means a lot to me.   More pictures and further wrap-up to come...I really should go to bed now.
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The big day is almost here!

Well, the big day is almost here.  It's kind of hard to believe, to be honest.  But it's here, and I'm excited!

It's not too late to donate to my fund raising effort if you haven't already.  I'd really like to send a few more young folks with cancer to this very special camp, so please donate to help out if you haven't already!

I feel like all the prep work is done and all that's left is to go have some fun doing some riding.  And then ride some more, and some more, and some more, and a little more.  And then maybe a lot more.  Who knows?  I just know I'm going to give it all I've got to reach the 103+ mile finish line.

If you want to follow along, the race starts at 8:30am EDT (6:30am here in Colorado) tomorrow (Saturday, Aug 11) and you can find a link for living timing at the bottom of this page.  I sort of expect to be through Pipeline 1 (or outbound, as this is an out-and-back course) around 2:30, Twin Lakes 1 (outbound) about 3:30, Twin Lakes 2 (inbound) about 6:30, and Pipeline 2 (inbound) around 7:30.  That would put me at the finish around 10:30 (or about 7pm, EDT).  These are very rough estimates, and there may be a couple more timing stations reporting than this, but I'm less sure about what those splits might be as I'm not completely sure where they are (well, one is likely at the top of Columbine assuming they can get data back from up there, and that would be about 5:45, I'd guess).

Anyway, time to get to bed and get some sleep!

More recon and a review

Took a little trip today to the middle of the LT100 race course.  This was the only part I hadn't yet seen, and is the easiest part of the course.  Took a little doing to figure out a little bit of it, but we've got it now.  There's still one tiny part I haven't ridden, but I'll get it later this week.  I am glad to have seen most of this middle part, though, because it does give me a little faith that I can get this done.

Now for a bit of reflection.  This is a fairly interesting summary:

That's a pretty good 30 days on the mountain bike.  How about my total cycling in the last year?

Holy crap on a cracker!  3,000 miles on a bicycle?  Wow, I am broken or something.  I sure did enjoy a lot of it, I know that.  And most importantly, I think it's prepared me well.  I have the best coach in the world to blame for much of this...Sage Rountree.  But I also have the best family in the entire world who would let me leave the house for a lot more than that 290 hours it took me to get the riding in.  See, it's not like all 290 hours or even most of it was near home...a lot of it required trips or driving to Raleigh or just working on bikes.  But they've helped me pursue this bucket list kind of dream of this crazy huge race in Leadville, and for that I am eternally grateful.  In just a few more days they'll be here to join me, and I can't wait!
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Just another day in ... Colorado

So today's workout was to climb Powerline again.  Yay, me!  Or, you know, not.  It's just a few miles, but it's also 1,400' of elevation gain over some of the worst terrain imaginable...huge ruts, loose sandy soil, large loose rocks, etc.  I tried to park a few miles away so I could warm up first, but I came in from the wrong direction for that as there was just nowhere I felt like I could leave my motorcycle safely.  So I parked near the bottom and just took off cold.

Wow, that stunk.  Cold starts at high altitude with large workloads are tough.  But it's not long on the Powerline climb before us mere mortals have to walk no matter what, anyway, so it wasn't too horrible of a situation.  Then it levels out to merely a horrible climb so I started pedaling.  I made it up in about ten minutes less than the first time I did it, so I'm pretty happy with that.  Here's a self-portrait of me at the top:

Then it was time to descend.  The descent is pretty dangerous on Powerline if you aren't careful.  I've been wearing sunglasses for most of my riding out here because the course is so open for the most part and the sun is pretty tough.  And I really prefer to have glasses of SOME kind on when I'm riding for the's no fun getting bugs or dirt in your eyes when you really need to see!  So I had sunglasses on even though part of this descent is in a wooded area, which meant shadows made things tough to see.  And I missed a rock that was ill-placed such that it somehow took out my rear brake disk.  I didn't crash nor even come close to it, but the best effort I could make to fix what was basically a brake disk in the shape of a taco meant that I got the rear wheel rolling again, but I had no rear brake at all.  Here's a picture of the scrapes on the disk, and trust me, it's very bent:

Now, everyone knows you do most of your braking with the front brake, but on a descent like this, particularly with someone as heavy as me, it's very important to be able to use both.  Since I couldn't, I decided to stop a couple times on the way down to cool the front brake.  Having it go out on me during this descent could be devastating, so I chose to take no chances here.  But I got through it, and got the disk swapped and things appear fine otherwise with the bike, so no worries.  I will probably switch to clear glasses for the rest of my training and the race, though.  It's just what I'm used to.

Later, Matt and I decided to do some motorcycle riding.  First we hit a local trail for some exploration that didn't take long and ended without much interesting to find, and then headed out to ride up Columbine Mine, the biggest climb of my mountain bike race.  It takes you to 12,600' and above tree line, and weather was great this afternoon, so it was a very good ride up.  Here's a picture of us and our bikes and some amazing background scenery:

It was kind of cold up top, so we didn't stick around long.  I need to check the data, but I'm pretty sure I can descend that mountain faster on my bicycle than I can on the motorcycle.  Of course, it's no contest the other way!

We headed back to town and walked over to watch some of the Leadville Boom Days! festivities.  I'm not sure how much of an overriding theme there is, but it's a crazy mix of interesting things culminating in, of all things, burro races on Sunday.  Tonight was some slow motorcycle competition stuff in the street.  What we got to see was a competition they call the "weiner bite."  That's where you have a guy driving a motorcycle with a girl on the back.  They go really slow under a hot dog hanging from a string.  The girl has to bite off as much of the hot dog as she can, but not swallow it.  Then she spits it out and they measure who bit off the most of the hot dog and that's the winner.

Yeah, that was amazing stuff, let me tell you.  But there were a ton of fair food vendors and we had some great "ribbon fries" and brisket.  Sadly, they don't allow open container alcohol even for Boom Days, so I had a sweet tea and we called it a night.  I woke up at 5am and couldn't go back to sleep this morning, so that was plenty of day for me anyway. 

Tempting fate with another day off from adventure!

Okay, so one more reminder...I'm raising money to help young folks with cancer through Team First Descents.  There's just over a week to go and I haven't reached my goal.  Please donate!

Not much to report today.  I was able to scrub most of the black dye off my hands from yesterday using Gojo with two harsh scrub sessions.  Then I went for an easy run around Leadville:

That was kind of a cool map to make, though with Leadville being on a hill, this was like a crazy interval run.  Then I got a shower which thankfully took care of the rest of the dye on my hands.  Otherwise?  It's been a boring day.  Matt and I had some lunch at a very good local Mexican place and have just done some housecleaning around the RV and watched Olympic coverage.  Weather has been pretty rainy all afternoon, so not much else to be done.

So now that you're sufficiently bored, click this link and donate!  Many thanks.

Every day is an adventure here in Colorado

Wow, what a day. And it's not evey 7pm yet!

I set my alarm clock to go ahead and get up and get my 1.5 hour ride in while it was cooler.  Got up at 7, got my breakfast smoothie made, ate, got dressed, and went out and loaded up my bicycle on the back of my motorcycle.  I didn't take a picture of that today, but here's an older one:

Yeah, I know, kind of nutty.  But it works.  Well, it used to.  But I'll get to that in a minute.

I rode out of town, found a good spot to park, and jumped on the bike to get another ride on the St. Kevin's climb.  Did that part of the race course and doubled back on the road and finished up right on time.  Loaded up and headed back to the campground.  While I was gone, Matt had gotten some breakfast, gone for a little exploratory motorcycle ride, and returned with some groceries while I was in the shower.  When I got out of the shower, he helped me with a couple of nagging plumbing issues we had with the RV, then we geared up and decided to go do some exploring.

Ashley had bought a couple of great books on Colorado off-road trails, and we used Colorado Backroads & 4-Wheel-Drive Trails.  In it, we found that a nice loop looked to be to take the Mosquito Pass over to Fairplay and down and back across on Weston Pass.  Mosquito was labeled "moderate" with Weston labeled as "easy."  Hmm, alrighty then!

We set off and pretty quickly found ourselves on a dirt road through abandoned mine country.  We passed a large area of parked SUV's with ATV trailers and kept going.  Soon the road turned to large loose rocks and not much more than what you'd call "trail."  And it started going WAY up.  And things started looking like this:
Yeah, that little road on the right is what we rode up.

And a while later, we made it to the summit:

The camera and Aerostich pants on top of jeans adds 20 pounds
That was seriously some of the most intense, crazy, scary riding I've ever done.  Until we started going DOWN.  Oh my.  That was worse.  Way worse.  Oh, I forgot one interesting thing...there was a Jeep at the top with HAM radio antennas all over it.  At first I just assumed it was some dude monkeying around with talking to really far away places by getting his antenna REALLY high.  But no, it was a dude and his wife and they were volunteering doing communication work for the burro races.

Wait, the WHAT?!?  That's right, the burro races.  Turns out this weekend is Burro Days in Fairplay, CO.  So we were informed that if we were to see any burros (that would presumably have people with them), it would be appreciated if we would just pull to the side and stop and turn off our engines and let them pass.  Both Matt and I assumed these burros would have riders.  Mmmmkay, so we head down, trying not to fall off a bazillion foot cliff while navigating motorcycles on steep, twisty, rocky, loose "roads."  Oh, and keeping our eyes out for the burros.

We go a pretty good ways without incident and without seeing any burros and reach a point where it appears the road gets much better and there's an abandoned mine and a couple cars parked.  We stop to take a break, because both our necks and shoulders and backs were getting quite tired of all this work.  Okay, it's not hard work, but when you're that stressed about it, it's bad.  We find that one of the groups is another set of HAM operators helping with the burro races.  I quickly noticed they had a cooler and it was quite large.  And we were parched.  I asked if they'd be so kind as to sell us a couple bottles of water, but they were quite friendly and gave us each a bottle.  So we sucked those down and got ready to mount up.  In smalltalk with those folks, I mentioned I was glad it looked like we had the worst of the road behind us.  "Oh, well, there's one more pretty bad spot on down.  Be careful."  Oh great.

Turns out his idea of a bad spot and ours were way different.  It really wasn't much of a big deal and soon we found ourselves on a long stretch of normal gravel road.  And then it happened.  Burros!  But apparently these aren't racers because they're just walking the burros.  We crawl past them and give them plenty of room, only to see they have race numbers on the burros.  And each burro had a pack  on its back with a gold mining pan, shovel, and various other things that appeared to be "spec."  Matt commented at one brief spot in between burros that he wanted to tell one of them to "get your ass out of the road."  But I think he knew that wouldn't come across quite right from out from under a motorcycle helmet, since he was only kidding.  We had nowhere to be, and well, how often do you get to see a real live burro race anyway?

We made our way through that and to the highway and turned toward Fairplay.  Wow, Burro Days are huge.  Took a while to get through town and to the other side where we stopped at a store to top off our fuel tanks, hit the restrooms, and get a snack.  Then we made our plan to head further south and go back across the much easier Weston Pass.  And it was easier, with parts of it simply "unmaintained for low clearance vehicles."  So it was very rough and rocky, but never particularly steep.  At one stop, however, minor disaster.  Matt shook my bike's rack and it moved.  A lot.  No, I wasn't carrying a bicycle, but I did have the top box on it there. 

One bolt was missing, and one bolt (caddy-corner from the missing one) was sheared off.  It and it's bushing were still there, though, and we realized that the rear pair (of which this was one) were longer than the front.  This meant that this bolt would work in place of the missing one on the front.  So we figured three were better than two and should get us home, right?  WRONG.  Not long after, that bolt sheared off, too.  Now, I had next to nothing in my top box, so it wasn't overweight or anything.  But the vibration just killed it.  So we had to stop again and remove it completely and strap it to Matt's rack.  Fortunately we had enough stuff to do that securely.

So it would seem that bike rack and top box are a bit too much weight, particularly as far back as they have to be mounted to work, on the rough trails.  That's not a huge problem because they aren't hard to take off for that kind of thing, it was just tough finding it out like this.  I need to procure a few parts, but I think I can get it back together by Tuesday.  I was a bit bugged to find that in the bouncing around it also broke my rear tail light, but then I remembered that I had a tail light upgrade that I had yet to install, and I brought it with me!  Talk about luck.  Even when I have bad luck, things have seemed to work out okay.  *knock knock knock*

So we made it back, and remember when I said Matt bought groceries? 

Well, he got steaks and he not only grilled them, he made potatoes and even got a fresh cantaloupe and cut that up for us to eat.  I knew I brought that boy for a reason!  And we did all of that before 6:30pm.  Good thing, too, because he had to finish cooking in a bit of rain as it was!  But the skies have cleared up and our bellies are full and we're ready for another day of adventure tomorrow.

Good day!

So I loaded my bicycle on the back of my motorcycle and headed over to St. Kevins, the first climb in the race.  My prescribed workout today was to walk up a 45 minute hill.  See, I'll be doing some walking in the race, and it was to be a light day since I had a long ride day yesterday.  So instead of just walking, I also pushed my bike up the hill.  That's even more like the race and that way I get to ride it down, which is fun. 

So that went fine.  After that was over, Matt headed out on my bike again to get another tube for the rear tire of his bike.  He picked up a nail two days ago, and yesterday he got the wrong tube by accident.  Unfortunately the closest place to get a tube at all was an hour-plus away, much of that because of construction on the main route between here and there.  But as he was leaving with his new tube, the guys in the motorcycle shop said "don't go around, just go through...they've been letting motorcycle guys through."  So he tried it.  And they weren't letting motorcycle guys through on this day.

So he tried to find another route, which ended in futility due to a newly reopened mine that was hogging an entire mountain top.  He ended up back at the construction site, but this time asked the foreman.  The answer was still no, but that there was a "hiking trail" just above the site that he could make it through since my bike is so off-road capable.  So he went looking for it and had to make his own trail to get there, but made it.  And at times he apparently had to basically stop and wiggle the handlebars between trees, but he made it through!

All this craziness meant it took him about an hour and a half longer than I thought (and I was kind of freaking out a little, but that was probably just because he delayed my lunch so much), but he got back and we got the tube installed.  And it seems we did everything right, because it's doing great.  We went for a late evening ride on some of the bike race course along with some exploring.  And we got these pictures:

That was cool and all and we did about 40 miles, mostly gravel with some occasional awesome pavement.  I still need to tweak my rear suspension some, but I really like the bike.  Well, other than dumping it on its side once when trying to make a very low speed turn in some very soft earth.  But it didn't hurt anything and it's light enough I had no trouble picking it back up myself.  So no harm, no foul.

Then we made it back to town and had to scare up some grub.  There's a local joint called "Quincy's" that is NOT the chain from days gone by.  This place has filet mignon Sun-Thurs and prime rib on Fri-Sat.  And nothing else.  Well, except a vegetarian lasagna, but that hardly counts.  And they have Fat Tire, which is also important.  So I ate and ate and ate this 16oz of prime goodness:

My coach said "Eat plenty of red meat."
I could swear my coach said to up my beer intake, too.  So I've been working on that.  *ahem*  Anyway, good day here in and around PbVille.

Poor Matt

So Matt got here yesterday to hang with me until the race.  I brought his motorcycle with me as well as mine so that he and I could go do some exploring in the time I'm not still training (and there will be a lot of that to kill).  Both of our motorcycles are "dual sports", which means they are street legal and very street capable, but are also very off-road capable.  That helps up here where the roads turn to rutted out rocky dirt roads with little warning.

Unfortunately, Matt realized a bit late in the game that he needed a new front tire for his motorcycle.  He ordered one and thought he'd have it in time to install it before I left, but it was a day late.  So he shipped it to Leadville and I picked it up.  He rode his bike to a dealer about 40 miles away (the closest one!) this morning to have it installed.  Unfortunately, on the way back he picked up a nail in his rear tire!  He was only about three miles away when he noticed it, and with little alternative he slowly rode it the rest of the way back to the campground.  Right now his bike looks like this:

It's missing something.

Unfortunately some part of this journey destroyed the tube in his tire to the point that there was no way we could patch it.  So we spent the next 30 minutes googling dealers and calling only to finally find one about 40 miles away.  Unfortunately the road between here and there is closed due to a tunnel collapse, so it'll be more like 60 miles for him to ride MY bike around and pick it up.  But at least it looks like we can get one today instead of having to wait until Monday at best, and that's using next day shipping.

The worst part of all this, too, is that not only did he get rained on this morning some, but it looks like it's raining in every direction from here right now and he's likely to get drenched on this trip, too.  Sucks for him, but what are you gonna do?

My day wasn't so awesome, either, but simply because I had a six hour training ride to do.  I wasn't supposed to ride terribly hard, just needed to ride for a long time.  So I did about all the riding there is to do in this area that doesn't involve crazy amounts of mountain climbing.  You can see the data here.  First thing you'll notice is I didn't go for the full six hours.  That was due to the aforementioned weather situation.  I started at 7:30, but really should have been moving by 7am and I would have made it.  But alas, I was at that last hour about to hit thirty minutes of singletrack before making the 30 minute trek back to town when I heard thunder.  Looking through the trees I quickly discerned that this was going to be a significant event.

So I skipped the singletrack and started getting my butt off the mountain.  I did get rained on pretty good, but at least I was able to get to lower elevation pretty quickly.  And while the rain wasn't ever terribly bad, there was a good bit of lightning and thunder in the area, so it seemed best to just cut it a little bit short.  I was pretty happy with how well I did at a ride this long at altitude...I'm getting more and more accustomed to it, which was the whole point.

It's kind of weird, though.  That was my last "long ride" until the race, which is now just over two weeks away.  And I probably won't have another six hour ride for a month, I'd guess, if then.  That kind of makes me happy right about now.  *grin*

Hopefully Matt gets the right tube and it stops raining by the time he gets back with it so we can install it.  That way we can go check out the Colorado Freeride Festival over in Winter Park!  Ashley and the kids and I got to see some of a similar event there last year, and it looks like a blast.  Wish us luck!