Monday, November 27, 2006


I can't believe this thing is real:

Just watch the video and try not to laugh at them trying to say this is an exercise device.

And if you didn't laugh at that, I dare you to try watching this cat riding the iGallop without laughing:

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Boot Fitting

I bought new boots last year when I bought the rest of my AT gear. They've been pretty comfortable, but I felt like the fit could still be improved a bit. It turns out that Boulder is the home of one of the best boot fitters around, Larry Houchen, and I stopped by to see him over the weekend.

Larry's shop isn't any sort of ritzy affair. Aside from the wall displaying the latest ski boots, the place could only be described as "college chic". It's obvious that he's more concerned with taking care of your feet than getting decorating tips from HGTV, and I'm okay with that. When I walked in, the shop was full of activity. There were customers sprawled out everywhere and Larry directed me to have a seat and hang out on one of the couches. Even with all the commotion and activity, it's a very relaxed atmosphere. I hung out there on the couch chatting with some of the other people and listening to Larry's advice to other customers while I waited for him to come by and make some adjustments on my boots. Typically, he moves from customer to customer spending a little bit of time on each customer before moving to the next.

Having comfortable boots is priceless, but apparently nobody has told that to Larry. A couple hours (and a couple beers) later, and ended up with some better fitting boots. He re-molded my boot liners, applied some mojo to my foot beds, and who knows what else. The cost? $10. I asked him if he was kidding me. He said "Is that okay." I didn't need much in the way "parts", but his labor is easily worth more. (For crying out loud, the guy has 25+ years of experience and has fit boots for many top skiers.) I'll at least have to bring him some beer next time I'm in Boulder, and Larry's is definitely the place I'll be shopping for alpine boots.

You can call Larry for an appointment (303-402-6733), but don't be too upset if he doesn't answer the phone right away. He's busy this time of year. Very busy. Call back later. :-)

(You don't have to take my word for it. Read mobil_homme's blog post from his experience at Larry's last year.)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

New Sleeping Bags

Christine and I received several REI gift cards as wedding gifts (rock!), and we put them to good use tonight. We bought some new sleeping bags:

I'm stoked because it's about 2 pounds lighter and packs down 1.5"x4" smaller than my old bag. The best part: We can zip them together to create a mutant sleeping bag of snuggly warmness:

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Loveland Demo Day 2

After the demo day last weekend, we had found some skis we liked but we weren't quite sold. Fortunately there was another demo day at Loveland so we got to try out our favorite skis again, as well as some others.

The weather today was even better than last week. They had gotten some snow over the past week, and it was an uncharacteristically warm and calm day at Loveland. I started out at the Volkl booth with some AC3's for a couple runs followed by the AC2's. The AC3's are geared towards the advanced/expert skier. That's not me, which explains why I didn't like them as much as the AC2's. The AC2's felt great for me. I could have skied them all day, but I figured I should try out some other skis.

Just as last week, K2 was a disappointment as they brought a horrible selection of sizes. I've heard great things about their skis, but I guess I'll never know. I next tried a Head Monster. I had a hard time initiating turn with it. It was a little stiff, and (according to the rep) it was probably hard to flex with the AT boots I was wearing. Next it was on to Atomic to try out the "Sweet Daddy". Fun ski. It didn't behave really well when I got on some ice, but I don't care because I'm enough of a snob that I stay home when it's icy.

After a quick break for lunch we decided to take out our favorite skis for a couple more runs. My favorite was the Volkl AC2. Ironically Christine's favorite was the women's specific version of the same ski (the Volkl Attiva AC2). Christine was deciding between the Volkl's and a some Nordica's and what finally sold her on the AC2 was a short bump run. The AC2's way outperformed the Nordicas in her opinion. The only question remaining is whether to by this year's Volkl skis or save some cash and buy last year's model. It's pretty difficult to find out if anything besides the graphics has actually changed between this year and last year.

And now, a pubic service announcement about demo days:

To the vendors: Bring more than 1 size of each ski. You can't possibly expect me to like your ski if you give me something that's way too long or too short. Also, bring some womens skis in small sizes. There weren't a whole helluva lot of options for Christine to try out.

To the other demo-ers: Use a little etiquette. I know you're enjoying your time on those sweet new skis, but there are probably a lot of other people who would like to try out the same ski. Take a couple runs and return it.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Get the "e" Book (In Colorado)

If you haven't already purchased one, you should purchase The e Book coupon book (available online and at King Soopers). At only $10, this thing is a super sweet deal. Plus, the money goes to Colorado schools, so you're supporting a good cause.

  • There are two buy one get one free lift ticket coupons for Loveland. Christine and I used one, and we gave the other to the Dyers this weekend. Between the 4 of us, that's $80 in savings!

  • There are 4 King Soopers coupon for $5 off a $50 or more purchase (You can use 1 a quarter). So there's another $20 in savings

  • There's a bunch of coupons for things that are *free* (as in beer): 2 free pay-per-view movies with Comcast, free arctic rush at DQ, free bagels at Bruegger's...

  • Other ski coupons include 2 for 1 at Copper (with restrictions of course), rental discounts, $10 of Copper/Winter Park pass, and more

  • Then there's a whole ton of other useful coupons

Even if you only use the grocery coupons, it's easily worth the $10. Go get this book. There, I just saved you a bunch of money. You're welcome. :)

Loveland Demo Day

I want to buy some downhill skis this year so I don't have to use my back-country gear at the resorts. Having just re-picked up skiing last year, I have no idea what I'm looking for in a ski, and frankly I don't know that I'd notice or benefit from a higher end ski. To help me solve these mysteries Christine and I went out to Loveland Ski Resort for their Demo Day yesterday.

I tried 4 different skis, doing a couple runs on each ski. Getting the right sized ski demo demo is sometimes a scramble due to the limited selection that the vendors can bring. Sometimes I had to take out a ski that was way too long, which makes for a difficult side-by-side comparison. Generally, all of the skis were pretty good. I don't think I'm a good enough skier to notice some of the finer points of the skis but I was surprised to be able to tell a difference between the feel of the different skis. In the end, I think I'd be happy with any of the skis I tried. We looked at some of the prices when we got home. Yikes. I need a prodeal. Skis are expensive. Who knew? What that? I need to buy bindings too? Oh man. On the upside, it looks like I can get by using my AT boots at least for this season.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Bike Fit

Cyclists in Colorado are fortunate for a lot of reasons: great roads, great cycling community, great competition, great weather (70+ in November!?), etc... We're also fortunate to live close to arguably the best bike fitting facility in the world, the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine, including one of the foremost experts (if not THE foremost expert) in the field, Andy Pruitt.

I've been meaning to get a bike fit for a while, but I just recently moved it up to the top of my priority list. I'm not suffering from anything really painful on the bike, but I've noticed some abnormalities that I'm afraid could turn into long term pains (like a clicking that occurs some times in my right knee, for example). My hope with the bike fit was to make the effort to prevent overuse injuries so I don't have to nurse wounds later.

Andy Pruitt is understandably high in demand, and when I originally called last week to schedule my appointment, the first available appointment was in January. Since you're reading this, you probably figured out that I didn't have to wait until January. A couple days after I made my appointment, I got a call about an opening due to a cancellation. (Note to self: It's a good idea to be very nice with the scheduling person, so that they'll call you when there's a cancellation :) )

The first thing Andy did when he came into the exam room was have me stand there while he looked me up and down and said things like “hmmm”, “uh-huh”, and “okay”. It’s a little odd to stand around in spandex and have someone checking you out, but it’s comforting to know that he’s looked at thousands of cyclists in the same way and he knows what the heck he’s looking for.

Apparently I have a really wide forefoot and a really narrow heel. No wonder it’s so damn hard to find shoes. If my shoes fit the heel, then they’re too tight for the forefoot. If they fit the forefoot, my heels slip. I also learned about the way my foot naturally lands and how that effects my cycling shoes.

After Andy was done poking at me, he sent me to get x-rays of my knees. The results showed that my knee caps are rotated slightly out. It doesn’t sound like it’s a big deal, but it helped him decide what changes he wanted to make to my shoes.

From there, it was on to the motion capture studio where we hooked up with biomechanist Todd Carver. This is where it gets pretty cool. They set my bike up on a stationary trainer and had me ride for a little while to warm up. Then they started cranking up the resistance until I was at about 70% of my maximum perceived effort level. The goal is to put your bones and muscles under normal stress levels because they move differently than if I was soft pedaling.

After I was fully warmed up, they stuck a bunch of little globes to me. Above my head and all around my bike were 6 infrared cameras that could “see” these little globes. They had me ride some more and they took both a video and a motion capture of my movements. Then they have some fun software that puts it all together and you get to see a stick figure representation of yourself pedaling. It’s really pretty cool. The software calculates your angles at various points of you pedal stroke, and they can make adjustments based on those numbers. There was also an overhead view that allowed them to see where my knees moved in relation to my feet. They could see that my right knee was moving a little more towards the inside than my left, which matches up with what Andy expected based on what he saw with my feet.

They made some adjustments to my saddle height, saddle setback, and then added some shims to my shoes to help keep my knees in the correct alignment. After a few increments of this, they put me back on the trainer and did another motion capture so they could compare the “before” and “after” numbers. Things were looking better with the changes. Over time, my body will adjust to the changes more and I should be in good shape by next race season.

What a great experience. I’ve asked my “normal” doctor in the past about things like my knee clicking, and they said not to worry about it if it didn’t hurt. I guess that’s why I avoid going to the doctor. Just because it doesn’t hurt, doesn’t mean it’s normal or healthy. I feel like the changes Andy and Todd made to my bike are going to not only help me perform better, but also keep me from getting injured. It’s not every day you get the same type of treatment as pro riders.

(They're supposed to send me a packet of data from my visit. If it looks interesting, I'll post it up here.)

Thursday, November 9, 2006

2 months

We're two months into our lifetime together. So far so good. Really good.

For my colorado friends

Bicycle Colorado is trying to get a "Share the Road" license plate in the state of Colorado. If you're a resident of Colorado (and you'd like to see this plate), sign the petition.

All the pertinent information is available at Bicycle Colorado's web page.

Monday, November 6, 2006


Christine and I went out to see Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (also known as "Borat") on Friday night. We usually stay away from movies on opening night because of all the crowds, but I would say this was worth it. Hilarious. Go see it. I think it's really odd that it's getting such good reviews too. 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, for example. I've never watched Da Ali G Show, but I feel like I should check out the DVD's now.

Friday, November 3, 2006

Like Odwala?

$0.99 for a 6-pack of Odwala bars at

Buy 31 packs for $30.69, minus $5 with a coupon, and you it's $0.14 a bar. I could maybe end world hunger with that kind of math. Seriously, maybe I should buy a bunch and donate them somewhere.