Finally fixed my bike

My Bianchi San Jose has finally been fixed. Yes, this one:

After a few weeks of enjoying the simplicity of the singlespeed, I finally went and bought a track cog that works with my existing chain. I swapped it at the bike shop half way from home, and enjoyed my first full fixed-gear commute this morning. It’s easy to keep pedaling when you don’t have a choice. I went with a 15T cog, and I think the 42/15 ratio is perfect, especially with the slicks (rather than the slow, loud, knobby cross tires that came on the bike). Fun, fast, and easy to ride. I wore my HR monitor on the ride in, and came up with 677 calories burned on the ride. When I add in whatever the afternoon number is, I’ll have to eat over 3700 calories a day just to maintain my weight – and that’s on days I don’t run.

As of yesterday afternoon, my commute has more than doubled for the summer (from 4.75 to 11.25 miles each way). The route is the same as I took last summer, except it’s 5 miles shorter. Unfortunately I’m forced off the ideal, fastest route (bike paths through a park for a couple miles) and on to a road with lots of low-visibility intersections thanks to FasTracks construction that ‘s been dragging for the past year.

My current bike to work percentage is 92.39%, as I’m still recovering from driving during some of those big storms. Hopefully that won’t be necessary this fall. On the upside, I’ve already biked to work 84 times this year (and ran once), whereas my total last year was a mere 80 days. Of course I didn’t start until bike to work day last year, but by the time bike to work day rolls around this year (Wednesday, June 24) I’ll already be past 100 days. If I can keep from driving to work 5 or more times for the rest of the year, I’ll be able to hit 95%.


Race Photos

This post will be far less visually appalling than the previous one (at least, I hope so).

Race photos are up for the Colfax Marathon, and for some reason they only took photos for the Half at the end of the race, where apparently everyone looks like crap. Out of 30 or so there are a couple where I think I look ok, but still worse than I think I should look.

What a fun race. I’m thinking now of the Boulder half, and the Denver full.

I had a long weekend

It was a blast but I’m also glad it’s over with. As some of you may know, this Sunday was the Colfax Marathon. I signed up for the half with Nate a few months ago when it was BOGO, and have been half-assedly getting ready for it. That, along with the ill-fated Rainier trip, kept me from getting to the mountains much for a while. I decided to go climb and ski Quandary the day before the race.

Friday night I got to sleep around 10:30, which was a little late given the 3am wakeup call Saturday had in store. Got up, loaded the car, met up with Hans, Mel, Owen, and Aaron at the Morrison Park ‘n’ Ride about 4:15 and we were off. It was raining in Denver, and we were hoping for better conditions in the mountains. We got them.

It was horrendously foggy on the mountain though, and as we approached this CMC group (who absolutely trashed the snowpack by glissading and postholing everywhere), we were getting drenched with sweat. High humidity in the Colorado mountains, especially on spring snow climbs, is exceptionally rare. It was fairly miserable, although it was surreal not being able to see very far around you.
The snow was extremely dusty, and got worse as the day went on due to accelerated melt. Total melt-off is going to be quick this year.

Once we were above the fog, the views were very cool. There was little to no breeze early, so it just sat in the valleys.
Even once we were largely out of the fog, occasional light breezes would push it above us.
Where are we, British Columbia?
A couple hours after starting, we topped out to a beautiful morning. While waiting for the snow to soften up, I took a nice nap. Very refreshing, and necessary for the ski that was about to come.
It turns out we waited too long. When the snow was nice on the summit, it was a horrible slushfest down low. I failed to lock the toe on my Dynafits, and a stationary jump turn resulted in one ski popping off and careening down the mountain a couple hundred feet. I’m told photos of that will be following. I didn’t get any ski photos because I was too busy either enjoying the snow, or being miserable and fighting through it. Having to cross multiple glissade tracks and countless trashed areas didn’t help (thanks a lot, CMC).

We finally made it back down to the car and headed in to Breckenridge for lunch. I had a massive calzone at Eric’s, and was still back to hungry by the time I got home. I cooked up a big plate of pasta and hit the sack at 6:30.

After an amazing evening’s sleep, the alarms went off, again, at 3am. I downed some extra strong coffee, cooked a solid breakfast, got my bag together, and biked down to City Park for the 6am start to the race. I had a strong start to the race, down under a 7:30 pace. I figured it was just excitement and I’d settle down to my 8:00 target, which would get me done just under 1:45. To my surprise, I kept it up through miles 3, 4, 5…soon I was 8.5 miles in with a 7:24 average pace. I kept it up and not much later I was finished, an hour and 38 minutes after starting. 13.1 miles is now my personal record distance, and to do it with 7:27 miles felt great.

After grabbing food and my bag, I went back to the finish to shout at Nate for his finish. He met his goal of sub-two hours, and it was off to the beer garden for some seemingly alcohol-free Michelob Ultra. Shortly thereafter, Amy picked me up for breakfast, and brought me a mini-cake with a great little flag. Thanks hon:

The results:
Overall: 85/2294
Age group: 18/167
Sex: 72/846
Chip time: 1:38:35
Gun time: 1:38:38

It’s gonna be a long weekend

Nothing particularly interesting is going on right this moment, it’s just 10:30pm and I’m wired. I’d rather listen to Pandora for the next 4 hours than go to sleep.

The half marathon is on Sunday morning, starting at 6am (wtf!). My ipod is ready to go, playlist and order set. Hopefully it works out for me. I’m feeling pretty good about the race and fairly confident I’ll break 1:45.

Saturday morning, I’ll be climbing Cristo Couloir on Quandary. Just a fun, mellow couloir climb with what promises to be a fun descent. With any luck, the road will be open to the dam, saving half an hour of walking on a dirt road in ski boots.

Tomorrow I’ll hopefully get my new tires in my hands for the Bianchi. I’m looking forward to getting less rolling resistance. I also think I’ll need to replace the freewheel, as the stock one appears to suck. A lot.

Plans are progressing for Rainier in July. I expect great success and a hell of a story to tell in the end.


Harbinger of the Fixed Gear Apocalypse

After dismissing fixed gear bikes as intriguing but stupid, I’m finally on my way to riding fixed. I’ve been beating on my road bike for almost a year now, putting thousands of miles on it through every weather condition Denver can throw at you. I’ve been running a 10 mile RT commute lately, which is about to jump up to 22 miles. Figuring that I didn’t want to continue to beat the hell out of the softride, I finally pulled the trigger on a dedicated commuter bike. Saturday, I picked up a Bianchi San Jose:

I’m currently running the freewheel, as the fixed gear cog is incompatible with the chain I’m running. Soon though. I will also be adding such practical, unaesthetic items as fenders, lights, and a rack. How lame! I’ve also got to upgrade the tires, as the stockers are way too slow, loud, and aggressive for road use (yet not enough so for real trail use).

On the bike-to-work front, I’m at 91.25% biking to work for the year. I’m hoping that with a bike better suited to rough weather will help me to get to work without my car for all but 4 (or fewer) days for the rest of the year, which will get me my 95% goal. If things continue as expected, I’ll be over 100 days biking to work by the time the official Bike to Work day rolls around.

Road Trip Photos

Here are 15 photos from the drive to MRNP and back. It looks like I’ll be on the mountain on my birthday for try #2. Here’s hoping all goes well next time.

Hundreds of pounds of the lightest gear ever made:
Sunrise in Wyoming:
The world’s most advanced refinery, yet it still has a burnoff stack:
Eastern edge of the Wasatch. There were some amazing looking lines there:
More Utah:
Idaho was flat, and I’m pretty sure I slept through most of it, so here’s some of Oregon:
SO green out there:
Cool scenic pull-off from the highway:
Sunset in Oregon:

Hudge waterfall on the drive back:
Train going by along the Columbia River. It makes our rivers looks like tiny streams:
Looking back at the storm that kept us off the mountain:
Final shot of the trip:


…in some ways. When we arrived at Longmire to get our climbing permits, we were handed a hot-off-the-presses avalanche bulletin. The storm that looked like it would be relatively mild came with several feet of snow and 55+mph winds that were loading our routes so badly that it would have been suicide to attempt a climb. Within minutes we knew we were finished, but still tried to figure out a safe ascent route for half an hour before accepting the fact that we had no choice but to turn around and go home after 23 hours of driving and a few more hours sleeping in the truck. The start of the way back was quite a downer, as we drove through torrential rains for hours, but eventually the mood lightened and some great conversation was had. I also got some decent photos that I’m still going through on the long drive.

We’re going to shoot again for July, when the weather should be better. On top of that, we’re planning on Fuhrer Finger, a line I’ve dreamed of doing for a while now. Steve’s friend Darrel was attempting Liberty Ridge, a far more dangerous and committing line than we were. We were concerned for him, but the word came today that he bailed after finding a dangerous lack of bonding, so all is well. Next time…