Wednesday, January 27, 2010

2010 Leadville Winter Series #1

Went up with Shawn to roll around in the snow this past Saturday, trying to avoid vomiting. (I know, it's kind of ancient history now that days have past).

But now I have pictures! First, a falling down action set:

What is that, some ice under there?

Hmm, yep, I think that was ice.

It was a good time. Lots of fresh, fluffy snow on top of everything. It was tough going, but it's always fun to hang out with those Leadville peeps.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

First 2010 visit to Lake Pueblo State Park

In winter, a Colorado mountain biker craving a singlestrack fix can visit a state park on the southwest side of Pueblo and almost always find it dry. And it's fun there.

Yesterday I headed down there primarily because I needed to do some things that are not available in Salida. I had planned a bike ride into the trip.

I got up yesterday morning and looked at my email, as is my habit. There it was, a reminder that I had a meeting at 3:30 back here in Salida. Dang! I considered re-scheduling, then decided that there was one time-consuming task that could happen some other time, and that I could make it work even with a bike ride, though it might have to be time-limited. But making that happen meant leaving the house earlier than I'd planned. Like, as soon as I could get going.

So I hurriedly got my stuff, loaded the singlespeed, started up the cold, cold truck (it's been plus or minus 0° F every morning since Christmas) and rolled east on highway 50 down the Arkansas River canyon.

I got stuff done quickly and methodically, and then made my way to the trailhead.

By my calculations, I had about two hours to ride before I needed to head back. The weather was idyllic. Not a breath of wind. Not a cloud. Right around 60° F. Ah, lovely. I looked at the trail snaking off into the canyons and had a giddy little flutter in my heart. Other riders were embarking.

I put my bike together. "OK, need to do the parking lot superman routine. There are my shorts. Oh yes, I should have the sidis handy so I can step right into them. Wait, my shoes? Did I bring them?"

The reality washed over me. I never put them in the truck. In my rush to leave the house, I left probably the most necessary part of my riding kit. I could ride with whatever shirt I was wearing, and even could ride with my carhartts. Gloves, sunglasses, not necessary. Helmet is pretty damned important.

But shoes are a show-stopper.

I gazed sadly out at the singletrack, a rider happily rolling down a gradual hill at the beginning of his ride. I kept my temper in check. For a long minute I stood looking out there. Then I decided to just make the best of it. I put my bike away, locked the truck, and strode off down the trail. I took a walk.

Sometimes the day just doesn't go the way you want. Sanity comes from learning how to deal.

Friday, January 8, 2010

We don't need no Steenking Thule Racks

Think you need a fancy rack for your light, tiny mountain bike, think again.

This photo courtesy of my friend Wes (click it for the big size).

His email read:

My cousin snapped this pic while traveling through the panhandle

We have much to learn from our friends to the south.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Summer memory

I was trolling through my photos yesterday looking for some images for a project when I stumbled across this one from a post last summer:

It was an early morning shot taken while descending the Silver Creek Trail with Lee Blackwell.

As I ride around dodging patches of glare ice here in central Colorado, this image takes me to a warmer, greener place.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Tarmac Daddy, Daddy Tarmac

I struggled, but now I have relented. As often happens this time of year, I have begun to enjoy road riding.

I put on warm stuff and I try to choose the warmest time of the day. Sometimes, like yesterday, it seems as if it will never warm up enough to be enjoyable. Then I go outside for something mid-afternoon and discover that, yes, even though the thermometer shows a temperature south of 30° F, the sun and still air make it feel fine for a ride.

My Roubaix

Yesterday I scrambled, leaving the house at 3:40 PM to do a 1+ hour loop. The sun sets around 4:30 here since we have such a formidable ridge of mountains to the southwest. And when the sun sets, things start getting really cold right quick-like. I rode like a crazed wildebeest. Got back about 10 minutes after sunset, feet numb with cold. But I had a good ride.

I've had my red Roubaix for two and a half years now. It's the perfect road bike for me. Nice mix of performance and comfort/stability. It has a SRAM Rival group. It's a good solid group; very good value. Like all SRAM drivetrain gear, the shifts are direct and the shifters feel like high-quality, robust equipment. But I don't think I'll ever really like the idea of double-tap. Since you have to push the trigger harder past the click for an upshift to get a downshift, every once in a while when I'm going for a downshift and don't give it enough shove, or if my finger slips, I get an upshift.

But I don't race. I don't even ride it much other than in winter.

Also the cranks have too narrow a q-factor for me by far. I have pedal extenders on them, which are steel and quite heavy.

I sometimes consider getting a new set of 105 or Ultegra cranks for it, or even getting a whole 105 group.

But I don't race road! And I don't use it much other than in winter!

Ah but it's good to be enjoying the smooth, quiet serenity of riding through crisp, clear winter air. And I'm arresting my slide into sloth and obesity.

Now, what time is it? Does the thermometer read 25° F yet?

Friday, January 1, 2010

2009 is being dropped, Purvis ATTACKS!!

The new year finds me OK. For me, 2009 was medium. Strikes and Gutters. But lots of really good stuff.

There were some really good things, like finishing the Vapor Trail 125, and seeing my silly little business (ArkansasValley.Net) make as much in one year as in the combined six prior years it's been in existence. And Salida Mountain Trails had a great year. We built more than two miles of new singletrack since last January.

And of course spending the whole year with Kathy, my pretty little sweetie.

The not so good stuff? Well it's bound to happen. Might as well figure out how to deal. I'm turning 46 this month, and I'm still learning.

Today I rode as long as I have in a while. It was around 30° F and sunny. A bit breezy, but not too bad. I bundled up and took to the pavement. I decided to take a self-portrait in the Kerkovian tradition, as practiced by the master:

The legend, Jeff Kerkove, in a characteristic self-portrait

Then there's yours truly, the goober of Chaffee County:

My kerkovian portrait just does not have the same pop. Gotta work on this. And geez, wipe yer nose for Christ sake.

It really was a pretty day. I think 2010 might just work out to be pretty decent. We make our own good fortune, and disasters are disasters when we allow them to take on that role.

Good luck to everyone out there. Hope you all find the goods.