Sunday, June 29, 2008

Motorcycle Ride to Granby

We haven't hadn't had the chance to do a good long motorcycle ride, but today we changed that. Along with Owen, Christine and I rode to her mom's restaurant in Granby (via Rocky Mountain National Park) and back through the Poudre Canyon. This was easily the longest motorcycle ride for both Christine and I. For Christine, it's probably also more miles in one day than she's put on in all the other days combined on her motorcycle.

Comanche Lake

Bum hip be damned. Christine, Kuzca and I motored out to the Comanche Peak Wilderness on Saturday and hiked to Comanche Lake. I haven't been there for 4 or 5 years, but I had remembered it being a pretty easy hike. It's got some distance (about 10 miles round trip), but it's not too steep.

We strolled out of Fort Collins leisurely around 9AM and made pretty good time up the canyon. They've been doing some resurfacing on Pingre Park Road and I was having a good time hauling ass on the dirt. Kuzca was giving me the eyes of a soon to be sick puppy and I dialed it back a bit so we didn't have to clean up dog puke.

We did the hike up to the lake in about 2 hours. I carried as much stuff as possible in my pack, and I think it helped keep the pace reasonable. Upon arriving at the lake we sat down and ate a little lunch while we look out upon the lake. It's not the most picturesque lake around, but it's kind of nice. After lunch, we sat on the bank a did a little fishing. I managed to pull a few in, and Christine got a few nibbles. The only thing she's missing now is landing the fish. I can totally identify, because I've missed a lot of fish in my day because I wasn't fast enough to set the hook.

It was so nice that we ended up staying longer than planned. By the time we got back to Fort Collins, it was almost 8 so we picked up some Chinese takeout for dinner while we planned our Sunday motorcycle ride with Owen. More to come on that.

Proof that Christine was fishing:
2008-06-28_08_christine_fishing

The lake:
2008-06-28_13_comanche_lake

Kuzca was having a good time in the snow. (And mud. Look at how black her legs are)
2008-06-28_06_kuzca_playing_in_the_snow

We even saw a mom and baby moose:
2008-06-28_19_moose

And their tracks:
2008-06-28_23_moose_tracks

Friday, June 27, 2008

Bike to Work Week - 2

It's now Friday, and I rode a different bike to work each day. We've had some short rain storms, but lucky for me they were all done by 3PM each day and the roads were nice and dry for the ride home.

I haven't driven my car since Sunday. My commute to work is about 7 miles, so that's 70 miles of commuting my car didn't do this week: 14 miles of moto power and 56 of pedal power. I probably saved about $12 in gas. Whoa, I'm going to go on a shopping spree. :)

Yesterday I even ran some errands on my bike after work. I rode up to Old Town to pick up some doggie Biobags. Then I rode to CSU to pick up this week's vegetable crop from our CSA. The ride gave me a chance to ride some bike paths and roads that I've never ridden before. The coolest revelation for me was the Mason Trail that runs parallel to College from the north side of town (around CSU) all the way down to the south side of town (Fossil Creek Pkwy). What a great bike path. It was like a paved superhighway for bikes and I didn't even know it was there.

I don't spend much time on the roads where I'd see a lot of casual riders. Most of my time is spent out on country roads, alone or with a group of people with the same mindset. It was frustrating this week as I spent more time on the local roads seeing cyclists not follow the rules of the road. I'm tired of seeing people ride through red lights, ride on the wrong side of the road, dangerously drift out of the bike lane and into traffic, etc. Mostly this bothers me because I spend a lot of time on the roads and the actions of these poor riders will typically get attributed to people like me. The last thing I need is some motorist running me off the road in retaliation for a recreational rider they saw blowing a red light.

I'm not without my own legal infractions. Sometimes I don't signal a turn. Whenever possible, I speed on my bike. I don't come to a complete stop at stop signs. But in general, I'm very law abiding on my bike. You'll never see me blow a light. You'll never see me unnecessarily impeding traffic. I don't want to give a motorist any reason to be pissed off that I'm on "their" roads. I just wish more people felt the same way.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A tasty dessert or breakfast

I got this simple recipe from a recent issue of Bon Appetit. It's a tasty evening snack, and I even had it for breakfast this morning. (Fruit + dairy + granola = breakfast)



Ingredients:
* 3 cups diced peeled tropical fruit (such as pineapple, mango, and kiwi. We used mango and kiwi)
* 1/3 cup honey
* 1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger plus additional for garnish
* 2 1/2 cups plain nonfat or reduced-fat (2%) Greek-style yogurt
* 2 cups purchased granola (with nuts and dried fruits, if desired)

Bon Apppetit instructions:
Mix fruit, honey, and 1/3 cup crystallized ginger in medium bowl. Spoon 1/2 cup yogurt into each bowl. Top each with 1/2 cup granola, then 3/4 cup fruit mixture. Spoon remaining 1/2 cup yogurt in dollops over fruit. Garnish with more chopped crystallized ginger and serve.

Ryan's instructions:
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. It may not look as nice, but the flavor is great.

I don't really like crystallized ginger, but it goes really well in this. I don't now how much of a difference Greek style yogurt makes compared to other yogurt, be we found some at Vitamin Cottage.

(Original recipe is here.)

The first harvest

Last night we made some pad thai and used our first* pieces of produce from the garden: a serrano pepper, and some basil. We also got to use some radishes that we got from our CSA last week and some some pasta from the farmers' market. (And it was tasty.)

* Technically, we did pull a strawberry from the garden a while ago, but that thing was pretty much ripe when I bought the plant from the nursery and planted it. The first thing we get to eat from our garden that we actually grew from seeds will be either spinach or radishes.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bike to Work Day

"Bike to Work Day" is by far the best day of "Bike to Work Week" because there are various breakfast stations around town where riders can grab a free bite. I usually adjust my commute so I can hit one or two of these stops, but this year there were really none that were reasonably close. There was, however, a breakfast station set up on the HP campus and it was actually pretty good. It was catered by Jason's Deli and there were breakfast burritos, muffins, bagels, and (best of all) fruit cups. I think I ate more calories than I burned on the way in. I'll try to make up for it by sprinting home after work.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Bike to Work Week

This week is Bike to Work Week (in Colorado). Since my stable of bikes has grown even more this year, I'm going to try to ride a different bike in each day. I sort of had to cheat today and ride my motorcycle because I only have 4 pedal bikes. The rest of the schedule is:

Tuesday: Mountain Bike
Ryan at Winter Park MTB Race

Wednesday: Specialized Tarmac SL2 (Road Bike)
2008-04-07_01_specialized_s-works_tarmac_sl2

Thursday: Specialized Tricross (Cyclocross Bike)
2007-08-14_01_specialized_tricross

Friday: Trek 5200 (Old road bike / time trial bike)
2008-04-06_19_ryan

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Race follow up

Yesterday's race is part of a 2-day race. The second day is a hill climb that consists of the first 18 miles from the first day. I contemplated doing the hill climb, but in the ended I decided against it. For one thing, it's $40 to do the same hill I climbed yesterday. Also, it didn't seem likely that too many people would be racing it, and I decided that I didn't need to add "Top 10 in a 10 person race" to my palmar├Ęs.

Instead I headed down to Longmont to do a group ride, and it ended up being more than I bargained for. Having made the last minute decision to ride, I rushed down to Ziggy's coffee shop in Longmont where I met up with Isaac. Soon after, several other people showed up and we had a sizable group. We rode from the coffee shop up to Ward, which isn't a ride I had done before. Wow that's a long climb. We didn't ride really fast, thankfully, but it was pretty constant climbing for about 1.5 hours once we got on to Left Hand Canyon Rd.

We stopped at the top for a refill of water and some cookies from the local shop. Then we continued on to the Peak to Peak Highway and down Highway 7 into Lyons. The other 4 guys were haulin' down 7 into Lyons, but I just couldn't do it. I was going into the red zone just to try and stay on their wheels, and I finally decided that I want to coast down hill. We all met up again as we got closer to Lyons and rode back to Longmont together.

So how to you follow up a 64 mile road race? How about another 62 miles and 5000 feet of climbing? I've burned about 5000 calories in riding the last couple days. Tonight I think I should pig out and then do a taste test between New Belgium Fat Tire in a bottles and cans.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Fort Collins Cycling Festival (Rist Canyon Road Race)

Oooh, so sore. I raced in the Fort Collins Cycling Festival today. (And boy are my legs tired. *rimshot*)

At 52 miles, this was already going to be a hard race with lots of climbing, but I guess that wasn't good enough for the organizers. Overnight, they decided to tack on some extra miles bringing the total to 64 and over 7000 feet of climbing. These weren't easy miles either. They included some killer short climbs. Apparently, they did this for safety reasons but I'm not sure why they waited until the night before to determine that their old finish wasn't safe. Another major league flub on their part was that they moved the feed zones (and didn't announce it to my knowledge). But enough of the bitching about the race organizers...

The race starts out by immediately going up a the steep hills by the stadium. There were people in the group that clearly weren't familiar with the course because they were hammering it early. I didn't look behind me, but I think we dropped several people within the first few miles. I had intended to stay near the front to keep from getting gapped on the descents, but instead I found myself near the rear of the newly shrunken group. After the final descent before Rist, I managed to get up to the front where I could cover the speed surges.

The climb up Rist was easier than I remembered last year. I stayed near the front and eventually 4 people were dangling off the front. I knew a couldn't hang and I had to dial it back a bit. Eventually I saw Tyson coming back so I knew I'd have someone to ride with. Every once and a while someone would be on our wheel, but they would usually blow up. We settled in finally with me, Tyson, and some dude in white.

Shortly after the feed, one of the front guys drifted back, leave 2 up front. Our group of 4 crested the summit together. Tyson bombed down the hill and maneuvered around a few cars, but I got stuck behind one of them because there was another car coming in the other lane. Tyson opened up a huge gap and it was up to the three of us to close it down. I was all ready to work in this group of three, but the other two didn't seem to be into it. The Aussie that was with us would shoot off the front instead of gently pulling through. It was like an attack. I don't know if that was his plan or what. The other guy was doing a lot of soft pedaling. It was frustrating, and eventually I decided I shouldn't be doing much work in that group. If Tyson got away and bridged, I was okay with that.

Eventually Tyson slowed down, and we caught him around Masonville. About this time, my legs were really cramping. I hung with this group until we headed north on Glade Rd and got dropped when I was taking a gel. (These new jerseys have pockets that are way too high.) At one point I got back on their wheels, but they dropped me again and I knew I was a goner. From here on out, it was a mental battle just to stay on the gas instead of easing into the finish.

We passed the original turn off to the finish and my legs let out a sigh. Man how I would have liked to be finishing. My legs were dead, but I still tried to ride as hard as I could up the next hills. Up one of the hills, I got passed by a group of three. I couldn't get on their wheels as my legs were cramping ever time I tried to get out of the saddle. Once they got over Bingham Hill though, they really slowed down as the jockeyed for position. When I caught them, I told them it was too early to screw around and tried to up the pace so we wouldn't get caught from behind. They were having none of it, so I just sat on wheels.

Coming into the finish, I did everything I needed to do and put my self right where I wanted to be. I knew the Aussie would have a good sprint, so I forced him to come around me (by slowing down and letting a gap open). I got right on his wheel, but as soon as everyone started sprinting, it was clear I had nothing left to give.

Overall the result was good. Top 10. Had the race finished where it was supposed to, though, I would have been 6th, so that's hard to swallow. All in all, a good day though.


Ryan Rides The Dams

*edit* I don't know what happened with the results, but sometime after I left the race I got moved up to 8th place. I think I left about 30 minutes after the results were posted, so the protest period should have been over. But at least I moved up instead of down.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Miles

I've never paid much attention to the number of miles I ride on my bike, but I took a look yesterday, and I've ridden over 3000 miles for the 2008 season so far.

2008-06-17_01_cycling_miles

I had no idea that I've ridden that much. And that doesn't even count the times I rode without my cycling computer.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Irrigation

I had a simple plan for Saturday afternoon: Install automatic garden irrigation. Conceptually, it's pretty simple. There was already a sprinkler valve near the garden, so I just needed to T off the water line, add a drip valve, and reroute a little tubing. Voila! Instant irrigation. But things never quite work out the easy.

There were several gotchas along the way, the most annoying of which was the sprinkler wiring. Sprinkler wiring is not complicated, but the people who installed my sprinklers did something stupid. To make a long story short, instead of spending $0.10 on a couple wire nuts and about 30 seconds worth of work they created an extra hour of work for me.

I tried my darnedest to get all the supplies before I started, but there were several return trips to The Home Depot for various sprinkler trinkets. For example, I had to get something to repair a water line because I found out that a landscaping staple had pierced it. It's been like that forever (I probably even hammered that staple in), but the metal had rusted and sealed the hole.

Eventually (Sunday afternoon), I prevailed and we now have a nice drip system in the garden. Each plant gets its own adjustable dripper so we can give them as much or as little water as they need when the sprinklers run each day.

2008-06-15_03_garden_irrigation

We replaced our dead cantaloupe, and added some new stuff: brussle sprouts, rosemary, dill, radishes, sunflowers, and strawberries.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Garden Success

We have some early success in the garden.

Old 97's

We're getting too old for late concerts. Last night Christine and I saw the Old 97's in Denver. One sign we're getting older is that we bring earplugs to concerts now. But we're not the only ones. I saw several other people with ear plugs. I guess that also means that we're going to shows that other old people go to.

Opening bands are hit or miss. I like to get there early enough to see them because occasionally you hear a band that you like. Other times, they suck. Last night they sucked and we should have just gotten to the show later. As it was, we weren't early enough to get a seat, but we were early enough to hear some sucky music.

All that aside, the Old 97's were great. They sounded great, had great energy, and played a bunch of the old favorites mixed in with the new songs. When Christine and I first met, the Old 97's were one of the few common ingredients in our respective music collections so we listened to them frequently (and still do). It was fun to go out and see them together for the first time. (Thankfully we have such musical common grounds so I don't have to listen to The Grateful Dead and she doesn't have to listen to too much of my vast collection of shitty music.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Man salon

I got a coupon in the mail for a new barbershop so I decided to try it out yesterday. I generally just go to a cheap place because, let's face it, my haircut isn't particularly difficult to do.

The place is called Floyds Barbershop, and it's set up to be some sort of hip hair place for guys. Guys that want to make sure everyone knows they are definitely not gay. So of course there are TV's and sports stuff on the walls. TV's, by the way, aren't very exciting when you have to remove your glasses. And it's not like I could listen to whatever was on the TV because of the booming music. It was like Abercrombie without all the homoeroticism.

I think I'll just stick to my plain old cheap-o haircut.

Tornado Cleanup

One of my coworker's houses got hit pretty good by the tornado that roared through Windsor a couple weeks ago. My new company was really cool and let us spend the day helping him out without taking vacation time. And they even paid for lunch.

I hadn't been through Windsor since the tornado, and it was pretty amazing to see the damage. My coworker's house faired pretty well compared to some of the others in his neighborhood. All over the place, there were tarps nailed down covering damaged roofs. People are rebuilding, though, and all around us were the sounds of hammers on rooftops. I spent most of the day tearing out damaged fence posts and setting new ones. Other people power washed his house and cleaned up all the little debris that was in his yard.

I'm glad I got the chance to help out. I know he had a lot of cleaning up to do after the tornado, and he was very thankful that we all came out to pitch in. I guess we exceeded his expectations, because we ran out of wood for the fence eventually.

2008-06-10_01_cleanup_at_mark_wahls

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Published photographer (soon)

I just found out today that the Colorado Mountain Club is going to use 3 of my photos in their upcoming book Colorado Lake Hikes. I have the first edition of the book, and it has some good information. The maps are abysmal though, so hopefully they've taken care of that. Regardless, it'll be cool to see some of my photos in print.

They're using my pictures from these three lakes:

Pingree Park

Our first camping outing of the year was to the Pingree Park / Comanche Peaks area north of Fort Collins. We chose the location this time because there are several good car camping spots.

As the first trip of the year, it was time to try out some new gear. First, the new tent: