Monday, July 31, 2006

Clerks 2

Go see Clerks II. We saw it last night, and laughed our butts off.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Pollution Scorecard

Here's a neat site that will give you information about pollution in your area:
Quick links for: Fort Collins, Denver, Colorado Springs, Boulder, and Toledo

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Today's ride

With Christine stuck in New Hampshire for the weekend, I figured it would be a time to get our for a long ride. I set out at 7:30 this morning to do a loop around Carter Lake followed by a trip up Buckhorn Canyon and Rist Canyon.

What a killer day. The route was: Fort Collins->Loveland->Carter Lake->Eden Valley->Masonville->Buckhorn->Rist->Fort Collins. My plan to refill water bottles in Masonville was foiled since the store wasn't open for another couple hours. Since I was already just about out of water at that point the only real option was to ride up to Horsetooth Mountain Park, which was 3 miles uphill and in the opposite direction that I wanted to go. Ugh, but it was worth it for the water.

Buckhorn Canyon is a killer. I haven't ridden it in the south to north direction yet this year and I had forgotten how steep some of those pitches are. I did alright for a while, but then I hit the proverbial wall. The climb up to the top of Rist Canyon was sloooow and hard. I was really glad for the long descent into Bellvue. :)

87 miles, 6400 feet of climbing

Here's a map of the ride:

And the elevation profile (in black):

Wind River Backpacking

Nat, Christine, Kuzca, and I took a 4 days last weekend and backpacked in the Wind River Range of Wyoming.

After a late start on Thursday evening, we drove almost halfway to our destination and stopped in Rawlins for the evening. Surprisingly, we found that just about every hotel was full. Apparently it's a popular place to stop along I-80 in the summer, even on a Thursday. We eventually found a room and crashed for the evening at some sketchy motel.

Christine and I went out for breakfast the next morning, and I had what could be the worst scrambled eggs ever. I don't know what they put in these things but it was bad. We rousted Nat shortly thereafter and ran away as quickly as possible from that horrible eating experience.

After a stop in Pinedale for supplies and lunch, we made it up to the trailhead and started our journey. It was a 6 mile hike from the trailhead to our destination (Glimpse Lake), and it was almost entirely uphill. Packed full with a few days of food, our backpacks were a little heavy and it was a grind to get to the lake. I think what kept us going was knowing that we'd be setting up a base camp and wouldn't be carrying our big packs again until our hike out on Monday.

Kuzca was cute on the hike in. She likes to stop and wait for us to make sure we're still there and sometimes she'll even start going back down the trail to find someone. She has also figured out that a good place to stop and wait is in the shade.

We're fortunate here in Colorado to rarely have to deal with mosquitoes when we go hiking. With all the water around the Wind Rivers (there are a ton of lakes in the area), however, there was plenty of breeding ground for mosquitoes. It was a nuisance all weekend but we put on bug spray and dealt with it. After the tiring hike in and battling with bugs, we were all pretty beat. We cooked up a simple meal of mac and cheese and then retreated to our tents for the evening.

I was the first one up the next morning so I did a little fishing and caught a nice brook trout. Following breakfast, we hiked up above the lake to the "crow's nest" for a spectacular view. From there we eyed some possible hiking routes for the following day and then we headed on our 6 mile day hike to Trapper Lake. Trapper lake was nice, but, as the guide book described, it was lacking solitude. It's a popular lake for people to take pack-stock trips into, so we saw people hanging out with big coolers and other items you wouldn't dream of backpacking with. Before heading back to camp, we found a nice place to eat lunch and even take a little swim.

Being sore and tired the following morning, we bagged our ambitious plans to hike to another lake. Instead, we hiked around our camp's lake and did some more swimming. Even Kuzca got in on the action this time. She really doesn't like the water, but she may have had a little help falling into the water. We spent the rest of the day lounging around camp, doing a crossword, and planning a honeymoon.

All good things must come to an end, and on Monday morning we had to pack up and head out. It was a quicker hike than on the way in, but it was still strenuous. We were all very glad to see the car.

Nat starting out on the trail:

Kuzca really knows how to get comfortable. Here she is using a rock as a pillow:

And here she is lounging by the lake:

Christine with a freshly picked wild flower:

Christine and Kuzca frolicking in the flowers:

One last view on our way to the car:

And from what Nat calls me "Trees of Wyoming" collection:

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Tour de France


I understand that the vast majority of people don't pay much attention to pro cycling, but thanks to people like Lance Armstrong and Greg LeMond, Americans are pretty familiar with the biggest race on the cycling calendar. And since I don't expect that most of my friends are following le Tour, here's an update:

So far this has been a very exciting race. With that Lance guy retired and the 2 pre-race favorites booted due to doping suspicions, the competition was a real tossup. It took until the Alps before American Floyd Landis emerged as the clear favorite for the win.

What has happened the last couple days is nothing short of amazing. Floyd Landis had a bad day yesterday. On the final climb of the day, people started to attack and Floyd just couldn't hang. He bonked. Big time. By the end of the day, Landis had gone from 1st to 11th place, 8:06 away from the lead. The chances of another American spoiling France's parade by winning their race were looking slim.

What a difference a day makes. Floyd attacked on the first climb of the today's stage and managed to win the stage by riding alone the for 80 miles. Not only did he get a stage win, he catapulted himself up to 3rd place, and is now within striking distance of taking the win once again. Let me repeat that again. This morning he was 8:06 out of first place. Tonight he's 0:31 out of first place. That's un-f'ing believable. That's historic. That's the sign of a true champion. I haven't been much of a Landis supporter (I think it's the porn star mustache he was sporting earlier this year), but I'm a convert. The race is far from over, but Landis is an excellent time trialer and he could easily take back 30 seconds on Saturday's TT. I can't wait to watch it.

And that's why this could be the best Tour de France ever (even better than LeMond's 8 second win over Laurent Fignon in '89).

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Best place to live

Money Magazine just rated Fort Collins as the number one best place to live (for small cities). Colorado Springs is number 1 for big cities.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

New Phone

I got a new phone last month. My old one still worked reasonably well and I liked it but I saw the opportunity to combine some of my devices. My new phone (the Motorola SLVR L7) can play MP3's (and comes with iTunes built in). Instead of carrying my phone and MP3 player when I ride, I can now carry just my phone (which isn't much bigger than my old phone alone). Ideally, I was hoping to listen to my tunes over bluetooth with some Oakley RAZRWIRE sunglasses. They have a built bluetooth earpiece. As of yet, however, the phone doesn't have the correct bluetooth profile needed (A2DP) to stream music over Bluetooth. Why Motorola would make a multimedia phone without this profile is beyond me. I'm hoping the phone hacking wizards will be able to put something together.

My new phone also takes me into the realm of text messaging. For all the people who've sent text messages to me and been ignored (my old phone didn't have good support for it), now I can get your messages. There's a good chance I'll still choose to ignore you, but that's another issue entirely.

I'm not a huge fan of text messaging, but there's at least one really good use: Google SMS. Suppose you need the phone number for Big City Burrito in Fort Collins. Just send the message "Big City Burrito Fort Collins CO" to "GOOGL" and it will come back to you with the information you need almost instantly. It's really cool. The Google SMS web page has some more examples of things you can do.

And while I'm talking about text messaging, let me take this opportunity to call out liv_e_uh on her SMS addiction. Even though she knew I was driving at the time, she still texted me. Maybe she just wants me drive off the road into an abutment. :P

Pleasant Suprise

On my ride yesterday I hopped off the bike path I was on and rode up to a road. I was greeted by an empty road with new pavement. The road was blocked off for all but local traffic so I pretty much had use of free use of an empty road to do some interval trainnig. Awesome.

Sunday, July 9, 2006

All carb'ed up and nowhere to go

Tragedy struck Friday when Christine found out that her Triple Bypass partner wouldn't be able to ride this weekend due to a bike crash injury. It would really stink for her to have to ride the whole things alone, so we worked out a plan where I could ride the last half with her and have someone take us back to our car afterwards. Riding only half would allow me to help Christine get on the road without worrying about my own stuff, and then provide a midway refueling point with some tasty treats not available at the aid stations and dry clothes.

Most everything was packed into the car on Friday night so we could get an early start on Saturday, and we ended up getting her on the road shortly after 7. We must be in the middle of rainy season in Colorado or something, because it's been raining (or threatening to rain) all week, and today was no exception. Shortly after Christine started up Squaw pass, it started raining hard and by the time she got to the top she was soaked. Waiting in Idaho Springs, I got to see all the people coming down off the pass shivering uncontrollably as they hopped off their bikes for some coffee. I would guess that no more than 25% of the people actually continued on. Looking to the west, it just didn't look like the weather was going to break and there were reports of snow on top of Loveland Pass. Christine called me from the Echo Lake Lodge (partway down the pass) so I could pick her up and thaw her out.

It was a bummer that the ride got cut short, but it was the right way to go. Driving back over Squaw Pass the visibility was very low with fog and a lot of rain. Several people working the event said it was the worst weather they'd ever had. I guess that's the chance you take in Colorado. Even in July.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Triple Bypass

Christine will be riding in the Triple Bypass this weekend. For those not in the know, it's a 120 mile ride that goes over 3 mountain passes and covers over 10,000 feet of climbing. I'm a slacker this year, but that means I get to drive around and be her personal support car. Support includes tire changing, cold beverage storage, MP3 player recharging, massages, etc. If anyone is going to be in Summit country and wants to cheer her on, give me a call and I'll tell you where to find us.

Monday, July 3, 2006

Shelf Road

Instead of spending the weekend on a bike, this time we spent it climbing at Shelf Road.

Livia was nice enough to let us stay at her place on Friday, Kuzca included. It's difficult to find a place to stay that won't mind a 70 pound furry monster. Thank you Livia for tolerating us. It saved us from having to get up super early on Saturday and it also gave us our first opportunity to meet Ti-Fou. I'm pro.

As we were grabbing a few items out of the car at Livia's, we came to a terrible realization. We had packed up our gear in plastic bins, and the bin that contained our tent was still sitting on the basement floor. Whoops! It's great to have friends with gear, because within a few minutes we got in touch with John B and he had an extra tent to bring.

Saturday morning we drove out to Shelf road and started with a 5.8 climb. This was only my second time climbing this season and the first time outdoors. It felt awkward, but it was fun to be out on the rock. Nearby, Ti-Fou and another Canadian climber celebrated Canada Day by double-teaming the lead on a 5.11. Once the toprope was set up on the 5.11, Christine flexed her muscles and scurried up it. It was awesome. Later we moved to a different spot and climbed a fun 5.9 overhang. The beginning was the tough part of the climb, and once again Christine kicked its butt. Once she showed me how it was done, I had a go at it too and managed to make it to the top.

Since we were car camping, Christine and I tried to think of something ridiculous to bring that we would never take on our normal camping trips. The winner: Croquet. Christine had a Croquet set, and it turned out to be a big hit. Even though it rained for a few hours after we got done climbing, we still had a lot of fun drinking, playing croquet, and just screwing around in general.

After a lazy start on Sunday we hiked down to a different wall. This time Christine and I only got one route in before some bad weather came in. It was a 5.8 with some really fun layback moves along a crack.

One long ride home in holiday traffic followed by some unpacking and a doggie bath and we were ready for bed. It was a great way the spend the beginning of the long weekend.

Christine climbing the 5.11

Ti-Fou working hard.

A look at Shelf Road. Dad - this may look familiar. It's the road between Cripple Creek and Canon City that we drove a long time ago I think. You should dig out those pictures.

Kuzca kicking back (and keepin dry) in Livia's Element with some box wine and a cigar.

Livia and John - croquet pros

Sunday, July 2, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth

HP has been sponsoring screenings of "An Inconvenient Truth" around the country, I guess to demonstrate their commitment to the environment. Last weekend they had ascreening for employees in Fort Collins and Christine and I scored a couple tickets.

Apparently, Al Gore has had some free time since '01 and has been traveling around the world giving presentations about global warming. Basically, the movie is his presentation (or parts of it) interspersed with some other clips and voiceovers.

I'm certainly not a climatologist or environmental expert so I can't vouch for the science used, but I found the information interesting and compelling. Well, as compelling as Al Gore can be. I intend to search online for the global warming skeptics' viewpoint, but even if everything in the movie is somehow false I don't see how anyone could argue against doing simple things to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

I hope a lot of people see the movie and give some thought to the impact they have on the world. I know a lot of people are turned off by Al Gore, but hopefully they can look beyond the presenter and understand the message. Yes, the movie is a bit self-serving at times. Yes, he takes a couple jabs at Bush. Yes, Al Gore's hair is disappearing faster than the polar ice caps. Get over it and see the movie.