Tuesday, July 24, 2007


I'm joining the Flickr world. I've had a free account for a while, but I just upgraded to a Pro account. You can check out my Flickr photos here.

Backpacking - Twin Crater Lakes

I had never been to the Rawah Wilderness before last weekend. The reason we ended up there for a backpacking trip was because I looked on a map and found some lakes to check out. The destination: Twin Crater Lakes.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Back to the Canyon

Recently my request for a backcountry permit in the Grand Canyon was granted, so we're going back in October with a couple friends. We're hiking down to Deer Creek Falls, which is a place we went to on my raft trip. While we were there on the raft trip, we saw a couple backpackers and I thought that would be a really cool place to hike down to. I'm totally excited.

We're going to hike down one day, hang out the next, and then take a couple days to hike out. Since our permit is good for Monday-Thursday in the canyon, we also have a weekend on either end to take a nice leisurely road trip there and back. We're going to try to hit some other parks like Bryce and Zion. We're open to suggestions if anyone knows of some cool things to see in that area.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


One of my coworkers has a Slingbox. Essentially, it takes video from his TV and streams it over a network. What that means is I can use his TV to watch the Tour de France while I'm working at my desk. No that's my kind of multitasking.

Home for the holidays

Christine and I just booked plane tickets to come home for Thanksgiving. We'll be there 11/18 (late) - until 11/24. Ah, vacation in Ohio in November. Dreamy.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


I was Christine's personal SAG (supplies an gear) vehicle yesterday during the Triple Bypass. I had a cooler full of cold drinks and a bag full of gear to keep her ready for any weather. I also had my own gear so I could ride along with her as much as possible.

I dropped her off at the start area early in the morning and then drove down I-70 to the Georgetown aid station. From Georgetown I geared up and and rode the opposite direction on the course until I found her. I ended up making it almost all the way up to Echo Lake before we crossed paths. We rode down into Idaho Springs and on to Georgetown together. After a bite to eat in Georgetown, we continued west.

When I did the ride a couple years ago, I remember the stretch from Idaho Springs to Loveland ski resort being a tiring uphill drag and I wanted to ride as much of that as possible with Christine. After leaving Georgetown, the route follows along some bike paths and frontage roads for a while before getting onto the shoulder of I-70. I rode almost up to I-70 with her and then turned around so I could get the car and meet her at Loveland resort. I would have loved to ride the whole way to Loveland with her, but that would mean I'd eventually have to ride back on I-70 alone and it didn't seem like a good idea.

The timing worked out well because Christine got to the ski resort a minute or two after I parked the car. I got back on my bike and rode with her up to the top of Loveland Pass. They had a camera man up there, so hopefully there will be a good picture of us together. I said goodbye to her atop Loveland Pass met her again briefly at the Summit County High School Aid Station before driving up to the top of Vail Pass. I hopped on my bike again on Vail Pass and rode down to meet Christine at Copper Mountain.

Of the 3 passes Vail is the easiest, but after almost 100 miles of riding, it's plenty hard. It's a great feeling to pull into the Vail Pass aid station because you know you've ridden about 100 miles, and the remaining 20 miles are all downhill. I said goodbye to Christine one final time and then met her at the finish.

At the end of the day, I had actually ridden 80 miles in between shuttling the car and riding with Christine.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Third times a charm

Christine rode the Triple Bypass today, start to finish. She dug deep into her suitcase of courage to conquer this very difficult course, and I'm proud of her for taking it on..

Christine got her hot new Blue Sky kit earlier this week:

Even after 120 miles and 10,310 feet of climbing, she still looks amazingly chipper:

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Harry Potter

It's going to be Harry madness with the movie and book coming out soon and we're trying to get all geared up. Speed reader Christine has blazed her way through 4 of the books (and she's mostly done with the 5th) in the past couple weeks and we listened to the 6th book (Half Blood Prince) on our trip. I'm looking forward to seeing the movie (maybe even at the Imax in Denver) and reading the new book after Christine is done. At her speeds, I should be able to pry the book from her within a day of its release. Then I'll take the next month to read it. :)

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Tour de France - Stage 1

Today's stage finished in Canterbury. We rode in a car with Christine's step-mom, and her brother rode in a car with some of their friends. What a cluster f*ck. Everything is an ordeal (and a slow one at that) when you're dealing with a couple 8 year olds and their associated entourage/menagerie. Once we got to Canterbury the whole parking thing was a treat. Christine and I were content to park and walk, but since we had to try to coordinate with another carload it was difficult. Then, of course, after an hour+ ride there's an amazing amount of organization that needs to happen before the kids can do anything so Christine and I are just hanging around in the parking lot shuffling our feet. We were really glad to separate and do our own thing once we made it to the race area.

We started by getting a little snack and coffee to push the crabbiness out of us. Then we walked down to the race course to check it out. It was getting close to the scheduled caravan time so we parked it to watch. At the prologue, I had gotten a Skoda hat from the caravan for Christine, and she accidentally dropped it somewhere today. Ironically, the Skoda car came buy and literally set the identical hat right in my hands. The Skoda hat is back. Life is good.

After we grew tired of the caravan, we walked over to the center of town. There was a market set up, so we got a crepe and some fresh strawberries (2 pt's for 1 British pound - a sweet deal). There was a large TV screen setup there too, so we watch as the racers got closer to town.

When they were about 20km's away, we walked over to the finish. It was crazy over there. Instead of trying to push our way through to the race course, we stayed back and watch the finish on France 2's big screen. Somehow Robbie McEwan managed to win the stage after being off the back of the main field with 8km's to go. That guy is amazing.

Tomorrow we head back to the states. I've decided that taking a vacation while visiting family isn't nearly as much fun as getting away with your wife. I'll note that for the future. As we were sitting in a pub enjoying a beer last night, I couldn't help but think that it will be nice when we can go backpacking again.

I'd like to confirm that, contrary to what you've heard, London Bridge is not falling down, falling down, falling down. Goodbye London. It's been real.

Tour de France - Prologue

Christine and I got an early start and arrived at the Prologue course by 11AM. At the time, there were a lot of people there, but there was still some space up against the race course. It wasn't a very exciting day. We just had to hang there and wait until the racers started, one by one, at 3PM. At around 1PM the Tour publicity caravan drove through tossing out goodies. Since they start at the beginning of the 8km course and we were at the finish, I think they had already pitched most of their goodies by the time they got to us.

We watched about the first half of the racers go, and then we decided we had enough of getting crammed into the barriers and walked around to catch some of the other action around the course. We walked by the team buses and saw some of the top riders warming up. It's odd to be able to stand 10 feet away from a pro athlete like that while there warming up. Then we walked further around the course stopping occasionally to check out one of the several giant TV screens they had set up in the parks.

Fabian Cancellara blew everyone else away and won by 13 seconds.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Tour de France - Team Presentations

This evening was the start of the Tour festivities with the team presentations in Trafalgar Square. We got to the square a couple hours early and grabbed a decent viewing spot. It was a little far away from the stage but we had a clear view and we could at least sit while we waited.

I wasn't really sure what to expect since they don't typically televise the team presentations in the US. The event started out with a DJ "spinning" (he had two CD decks and a mixer) to get things going. When he finished, there were presentations of various cycling groups and they also paraded some different kinds of bikes across the stage. They had some old bikes, new bikes, and unusual bikes. Later the mayor of London and the director of The Tour came out and chatted before bringing out the hosts for the presentations.

The teams came out one by one and the riders were introduced. There was, of course, loud applause for the British riders but even Americans like George Hincapie were welcomed loudly. Unsprisingly, there was no mention of Floyd Landis (who's verdict was rumored to be coming out today).

After the final team was presented (local favorite, Bradly Wiggins' Cofidis team), a band started playing and the crowd dispersed. Tomorrow is the prologue, and I hope to get a good viewing spot.

Thursday, July 5, 2007


Just got back from our short trip to Belgium. We left London early on the Eurostar train to Bruges on Wednesday. We did a lot of walking around the pedestrian areas and Christine called it the Estes Park of Belgium. It was a fun city to walk around. We visited an old brewery, drank some good Belgian beer, and ate some chocolate. We were full of beer and junk food, so for dinner we just had a bread and prosciutto appetizer and some more beer. This morning we took a boat trip that goes along the canals of the city. We did some more walking around and found a couple nice places to have waffles, fries, and ice cream for "lunch".

Tomorrow is that start of the Tour de France festivities. The team presentations start at 6PM and I'm looking forward to all the craziness.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

London - Wimbledon, Potter, Walking

We arose early this morning so we could walk to the train station with Christine's dad. The station is about 1.25 miles from the house, and he walks it every day. Combined with the other walking he does in the city, he gets a lot of walking exercise.

From the train station, we jogged back home to eat and shower. Then it was back to the train, this time for our own trip out. Our first stop was Wimbledon. Centre court tickets are pricey, but we got some grounds tickets to check out some of the action on the other courts. It was cool to see it all in person. The grounds crew was certainly getting a workout unrolling and rolling the tarps when the rain came.

Eventually we made it in to the city with the goal of checking out the Tour de France prologue course to try and find some good places to stand. We also stopped in a pub and had a couple classics: bangers and mash, and fish and chips. Along with a beer of course.

We were on the subway headed back out of town when Christine noticed a news story about a Harry Potter premier today. We were close (just a couple tube stops away), so we decided to check it out. Quite the mad house. It was a big movie premier; something that we hadn't seen before. We were there towards the end, and I actually got to see Harry Potter walk by and into the mass of screaming young girls.

Another long day and we're back with the fam. Tomorrow we have to get up even earlier so we can catch our train to Bruges, Belgium. Mmmmm, chocolate and beer.

London - Monday

I woke up sometime around sunrise, but decided that was just too early to get up and managed to fall asleep until Thomas woke us up a 9:30. We had reservations at 11:30 for tea at the Ritz. Tea was...well, not my cup of tea. I packed a pair of nice pants and a button up shirt, but jacket and tie are required (which the fine people at the Ritz loaned to me). Along with tea, we had sandwiches, scones, and tea cakes. The sandwiches had the crusts cut off. The English must have told their mommies a long time ago that they didn't like the crust. Babies.

After that horrific experience, we took the tube down to a museum with a Star Wars exhibit. It may have been cool, but by that point I really wanted to walk around town at a non 8 year old pace with a non 8 year old attention span. Christine and I walked along the river down to the London tower. The weather was pleasantly cool with the occasional rainfall.

At the tower we reconvened with Thomas and Chris and toured around the Tower of London. Wow, the royalty sure were living it up while the peasants suffered. On the way in to see the crown jewels they were projecting a video of the queen's coronation and I just find the whole thing odd. But then again, I guess we create our own royalty in the form of celebrities.

Distance is measured in miles and speed in miles per hour, yet weight is measured in grams and kilograms. They drive on the left here, but yet on the escalators you're expected to stand on the right and walk on the left. On the sidewalks, people generally walk on the right hand side. It all seems inconsistent.

In the evening we had a good dinner in Chinatown and then went to see Spamalot. It was pretty fun, but mostly scenes and lines lifted from The Holy Grail. Worth checking out, though, if it's in your town. A coworker of mine is also in London and we met him after the show for a quick drink before catching the last train home.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Vacation in Fort Collins

It was fun to have a free day at home. Usually by the time I get a couple hours into a ride, I start thinking about all the other stuff I *should* be doing. Since we weren't even planning on being home on Saturday, it really felt like bonus time.

I went out for an early morning ride and met up with a couple teammates. The ride down to meet them was fun because I ended up on part of a triathlon course and some other charity ride course. So I had a police escort for a bit, people cheering, people stopping traffic, and even some other fast riders to chase down. Consequently, I made pretty good time down to Carter Lake.

From Carter, we rode up 34 to Estes Park via the brutal switchbacks near Glen Haven. They're hard enough on an easy day, but we we're really moving at quite a good pace. Fortunately I wasn't the only one feeling the pain, and we did end up easing up a bit. Maybe I shouldn't have had that wine the night before. :)

I hadn't really planned on being out that long, so I only grabbed a couple gels for the ride. When we started heading back home (and I was out of gels), I knew I was going to bonk. Those last 10 miles were tough, but I made it home without feeling too wacky. I rode for around 4 hours and 70+ miles, which isn't bad considering I didn't even think I'd get to ride for at least another week.

London - Day 1

The flight went smoothly last night. I fell asleep at the end of the movie I was watching and didn't wake up until we were an hour outside of London. I find Heathrow annoying, because I always have to taxi around in the plane for a while before they end up parking it in the middle on nowhere. Then you wait for them to bring a bus that takes you to the terminal. I suppose they could speed up the landing process, but it doesn't much matter since the luggage was pretty slow at arriving.

Christine's dad picked us up from the airport and we came back to their house for lunch. Afterwards we walked through some parks near their house. Fighting sleep, we went out to dinner at a French place that was pretty good. I'm looking forward to some nice simple pub fare though.

(not so) fun facts about Ryan's travels to Europe:
  • I've never been to Europe without Christine

  • I've never flown from the US to Europe on anything other than the 8:15PM Denver->London British Airlines flight

  • My formula for sleeping on the way over: Jack Daniels before dinner, wine with dinner, Zzzzzz