Monday, April 28, 2008

Tour of the Gila

Tomorrow morning I embark on a journey to the Tour of the Gila in Silver City New Mexico. I'll be racing 4 stages starting Thursday May 1, and finishing Sunday May 4:

Stage 1: 64 mile road race
Stage 2: 16 mile time trial
Stage 3: 15 mile crit
Stage 4: 72 mile road race

I don't feel like I'm in particularly good race shape, but hopefully I can hang. There will be a lot of people there brining their 'A' game and I feel like I'm bringing B+ at best. Hopefully I can screw up other people's 'A' games. :)

We've got a team of 4 guys in the cat 4's and 5 in the cat 3's, so Blue Sky will be making a solid showing visually if not results-wise. We even got some last minute door magnets for the cars we're driving down, so people will know we mean business.

I'm all set up to post via iPhone to Flickr and LiveJournal so stay tuned for updates.


Seriously, enough with the fauxhawk already. If you want spiked hair, show some commitment and get out the razor.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Traveling without a laptop

As good technology addicted people, Christine and I rarely go on a trip without bringing at least one notebook computer. (Frequently we'll each bring one.) On our weekend trip to Colorado Springs, our notebook obsession was replaced by my iPhone. With my iPhone, we could browse the web, check email, and even use Google Maps to get directions or find a Starbucks at 6AM.

Yeah, I'm just justifying my iPhone purchase. :) I will also justify it next week when I can post photos and blogs from my phone when I'm in New Mexico.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Race Weekend in Colorado Springs

Saturday morning, Christine and I packed up the wagon and went down to Colorado Springs for some bike racing and socializing.

We started our stay in Colorado Springs by meeting up with Christine's family at Colorado College (where her cousin is a freshman). After some lunch, I suited up for the criterium. Because of the way the arranged theose categories, I was able to do two races (a cat 4/5 race and a cat 3/4 race). First up was the 4/5. At the start line, I missed clipping into my pedal, but I didn't lose many places. The really killer part of the course was a short steep hill. That thing was surprisingly killer on my legs and lungs. After spending some time on the front and the back of the pack, I ended up finishing somewhere in the middle of the group.

Immediately after the 4/5 race, I had to line up for the 3/4 race. I was too tired for this fast paced group and only had about 15 minutes in my legs. It was killer. I wish I could have stayed in longer, but it wasn't meant to be.

Those were crits 3 and 4 for me this year, which is 4 more than I did last year. I don't care how many crits I do, I'll still be nervous at the start line. I am, however, feeling better during the race.

2008-04-19_ryan_crit (Photo by Marty Caivano)


In a stroke of great luck, Jamie had a birthday party on the same weekend were were planning on being in Colorado Springs. We spent the evening catching up with some people that we don't get to see too often and it was a great time. I hated that I had to get up at 5AM the next morning because I would have loved to stay later.

The race du jour for Sunday was the Air Force Academy road race. It's a great course, and I'm happy they put on a race. My start time was 7AM (ugh), so we got up really early to eat breakfast and get all my crap together. As usual, Christine was the ultimate teammate, pinning on my number and helping me get my other stuff together.

I was able to stay at the front of the race pretty easily. My fitness is better than in past years, but also my comfort level in the pack has improved greatly. When we hit the climbing section on the first lap, we paced picked up a bit, but it wasn't too much of a struggle to hang on. When we hit the climbing section on the second lap, I made a mistake.

For the whole race there were two teams that regularly had 3-4 guys at the front of the group. When the climb really started, those two teams each had a rider attack. I was at the front of the group and decided to sit up and see what would happen with their move. Shockingly, their teammates flew by me and pulled the whole group with them. It's amazing. For those not familiar with bike racing, when your teammate attacks you shouldn't tow the rest of the field up to them.

I misjudged how small our group had gotten, and I soon found myself off the back and not able to accelerate enough to catch back on. Without the shelter of the pack, I was left to fight the wind solo and I could never catch them. In the end, I crossed the line in 20th place. Not bad, but I know I had the legs to do better. It was another good race learning experience.

Next up on the racing schedule: The Tour of the Gila in New Mexico.

SIlly Goose - Part 2

Remember when that goose was pecking my car? It was protecting its nesting area. And today, I saw the fruits of it's labor:

I hate the geese around here, but those baby geese are f-ing cute.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bring on the produce

For the past couple weeks I've been slowly working on building our garden. It's the same type of planter as we built for our raspberries, but I've been spreading the work over several days instead of doing it all at once. It's all ready to be filled with soil and fenced off now. Sometime in May we'll plant some stuff, and hopefully it will grow. :)

Even if our garden fails miserably, we have plan B: We signed up for a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program. Every week this summer we'll be getting some fresh, local, organic produce. It's going to be fun finding some recipes for vegetables that we wouldn't normally buy. As part of the CSA, we also signed up for a fruit share (peaches, pears, apples, strawberries). It's going to be a tasty summer.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Rules of cycling

Rule number....whatever:
Don't celebrate until after you've won the sprint or you run the risk of being nipped at the line:

Mark Wolcott's picture of the 35+ race finish

Monday, April 14, 2008


Last fall, a teammate of mine started a series of training rides he called SHWIT - Steep Hills With Isaac Training. The SHWIT ride made an early comeback Sunday.

I rode with Isaac from his house in Longmont to the Ziggy's coffee shop where we picked up a few more riders. From there, we embarked on a hill climbing festival. We started by riding to Boulder and doing Lee Hill. From Lee Hill, we descended into Left Hand Canyon and then climbed over Old Stage. After Old Stage, we took another trip up Lee Hill. Finally, we descended down into Boulder and then tackled Sunshine Canyon all the way up to Gold Hill. (For those of you at our wedding, Sunshine Canyon is the one you drove into Boulder from the ceremony in Gold Hill.) After some rough and chilly descending into Boulder, we stopped at Breadworks for some chocolate croissants and espresso before heading back to Longmont. We had up to 8 riders at one point. By the time we headed up Sunshine, it was down to 3.

From Isaac's house, it was about 85 miles and 8800+ feet of climbing. I was never going all out on the hills, but I still feel pretty worked. That final climb up Sunshine was killer. It was more of a strength workout than cardio. The dirt portion of the road gets steep and I was just trying to keep turning the cranks over.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

End of the ski season

I have probably done less skiing this year than any other year I've lived in Colorado. Fortunately, I replaced quantity with quality because I had some truly unbelievable powder days this year.

Saturday was probably our last ski day of the year, and we spent it playing around Zimmerman Lake. Amazingly, this was Christine's first backcountry day of the year since she's been hurt all winter.

I love days where you can go from snow like this:
2008-04-12_04_untracked snow

to a warm sunny day like this:
2008-04-12_08_rest stop on the poudre

Kuzca got in on the action too:
2008-04-12_03_kuzca on the trail

Friday, April 11, 2008

Beer on Sunday. Finally!

Colorado Governor Bill Ritter (AKA my favorite person of the day) will sign the bill next week that will allow liquor sales on Sunday putting an end to 75 years of stupidity. I'm going to cry tears of joy. Starting in July, I will do my liquor shopping on Sundays to support this fantastic decision. I can't wait until football season because I can't tell you how many times I've wanted a beer during the game, but walked to the fridge only to find it beer-less.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Kuzca's Backpack

I've had these videos sitting around for a while, but Flickr's recent addition of video sharing has prompted me to try posting them.

For as many cool places as she goes after she puts it on, Kuzca absolutely hates her backpack. She acts like she can't move after you put it on her. It's quite amusing (to us).

Monday, April 7, 2008

New Bike - Part 3

Due to my cracked frame, I had to have my bike replaced. If you're keeping score at home, that's 3 new bikes this year:

  • Bike 1: Felt F2

  • Bike 2: Specialized Tarmac

  • Bike 3: Specialized Tarmac

Special bonus points if you can recognize the difference (besides color) between this Tarmac and the previous Tarmac. Here are a couple hints:


Sunday, April 6, 2008

Weekend Riding and Racing

I got out Saturday on for a nice 60 mile, 5000' climbing day through Buckhorn and Rist canyons. My legs felt pretty good and I pushed hard all day. It was the best I've felt on that ride in a long time.

I need to get ready for a stage race at the end of the month, so I followed up Saturday's climbing day with a circuit race in Golden. Part of my goal was to also gain some more confidence/experience in criteriums.

Each lap of this particular race has some high speed downhill cornering and a killer little hill. I did fairly well at getting myself near the front of this race. The real killed on the course was the climb and, more importantly, the corner before it. Since I wasn't on the front at the corner before the hill, I ended up having to brake hard and then really get on the gas to get back with the group. That braking and surging finally killed me and I got dropped along with one of my teammates.

The high speed corners on this course were good practice for me (and they were fun). My teammate (Rob) can rally corner well, so I was following his lines and it really helped out.

I ended up finishing 10th place (out of 40+ finishers) which is a great result for me. Maybe spending money on a power meter this year was a good idea. :)

I'm currently "recovering" on the couch with Belgian blonde and quadruple ales while I watch the Tour of Flanders (a.k.a Ronde von Vlaanderen), a classic Belgian bike race.




Thursday, April 3, 2008

New clothes, no bike

After what seemed like an eternity of waiting, our new cycling team clothes made it through customs today. Isaac and Jenna had their garage all set up for a super organized evening of sorting and bagging everyone's stuff. There were some flubs (as you would expect with 150 people's worth of orders to package), but we eventually got everything figured out.
The new stuff looks great. It's a new clothing manufacturer for us, so it's always a bit scary picking sizes. I think everything I have fits right, but I better not gain any weight or that small jersey I got isn't going to be so great. Seeing all the different clothes makes me wish I had gotten some more stuff too. But then I remember how much it costs, and I realize why I didn't go hog wild with the ordering.

So now I'm all dressed up with no place to go. My new Tarmac is sitting at the bike shop while I wait for a replacement frame. The Specialized rep wasn't keen on me riding on it, so I'm at a loss for a bike. I had set up my old Trek for time trials, so I'm going to have to un-TT it so I have something to ride and race on this weekend.