Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Colorado Lake Hikes

I just got my copy of the hiking book that used a few of my photos, Colorado Lake Hikes (Second Edition).

I have the first edition of the book, and while it has some good hike information, it severely lacks pizazz in the map and photo department. That's putting it lightly. The maps were terrible and photos were nonexistent.

The second edition is awesome. The entire book is done is full color, and each hike includes at least one photo of the lake. Additionally, they included a small topo map of each hike. This is something that I've always wanted hiking books to do, but it rarely happens (and I'm not sure why). They also added a good overview map that shows you where the hikes are located, and hiking pages are color coded to correspond with the colored number on the map. That's a nice little touch that again I wish more books would adopt.

It would have been cool to have my photos published in even a crappy book, but I'm really happy that this new book is so nice. It's fun to see your name in print under the photograph and also in the list of acknowledgments.

(If anyone is in need of a good hiking book for Colorado, I can order copies of the book at half price. Let me know.)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Kirby Cosmos BBQ, Minturn, CO

Last night we got out of Vail in search of food. On my ride yesterday I remembered passing a BBQ place in Minturn and we decided to check it out. Holy crap this was a good choice.

Kirby Cosmo's BBQ
474 Main St.
Minturn, CO

I use the pulled pork sandwich as a baseline comparison between BBQ joints, so we ordered one of those and one shredded chicken sandwich. The pulled pork did not disappoint. It was smoky, the BBQ sauce was good, and I'd put it up there with the pulled pork at my favorite Fort Collins BBQ. The chicken was good, but not as good as the pork (which I think is usually the case). In addition to the sandwiches, we got some sweet potato fries and mac & cheese. At first glance, the sweet potato fries looked disappointing because they weren't really crispy. Once we tasted them, though, we didn't care that they weren't crispy like the usual fry. They were great. The mac & cheese was spicy and peppery and it was delicious. I've never had a spicy mac before, but I'll certainly have it again.

If you find yourself in Vail waiting to get away from the snooty-ness, it's well worth the trip to go a few miles down the highway to Kirby Cosmo's BBQ in Minturn. I'll be back for sure.

PT assistant

Kuzca is a big fan of the laying around that Christine needs to do. She seldom misses an opportunity to lay on the bed and get a nap and some petting.



The machine that Christine's leg is resting in is called a Constant Passive Motion machine. It keeps her leg moving and you can program the range of angles that it moves through. The black cable that's running up to her quad is connecting to a cooling jacket that ices her hip.

Christine's new hero, Jimmy from South Park


Friday, July 25, 2008

Copper Triangle++

Christine's mom came down today to visit with Christine and help out. This left me free to disappear for a while, so I hopped on my bike and did the Copper Triangle. Typically the Copper Triangle route starts at Copper Mountain, goes up to Leadville, then Minturn, then Vail, and back to Copper. I started in Vail instead of Copper.

The climb up Vail pass seemed more difficult than climbing up from the east side. The road between Copper and Leadville is pretty sucky. For the first several miles, there is little to no shoulder and plenty of traffic. I actually got buzzed pretty good by a truck and took note of the plate number on his trailer for a future call to Colorado State Patrol. (More on that a-hole later.)

In Leadville, I stopped at Rosie's Brew Pub for some food. I would have liked to down some beers, but I still had plenty of miles to ride. I settled on a couple small samplers. The waitress couldn't grasp why I would rather bring my bike inside instead of leaving it outside unlocked on the bike rack around the corner. Yes, I understand that some of the employees leave their bikes there without issue, but that's a chance I'm just not willing to take with my race bike (and my only form of transportation back to Vail).

From Leadville, I rode on Highway 24 to Minturn. The first 5-10 miles were terrible. There was construction where the road was completely torn up. Even the areas where there wasn't ongoing construction, the pavement was horrible. I'm glad I just put on a new set of heavy duty tires. (For what it's worth, I've been training on Specialized Armadillo tires this year. I put almost 2000-3000 miles on my first set before I had to change them. I'm a fan, because I'm not wearing out expensive race rubber all the time.)

At the top of Tennessee pass I ran into a couple of cyclists who having been touring around Colorado (and a bit of Wyoming) for the past week. Sounds fun. They had someone driving a support truck that pulled up while we were talking. They offered my some cookies and water, which would have been perfect if I hadn't just filled up in Leadville. I appreciated the offer though.

From there it was a pretty easy ride down to Minturn and back to Vail. There's one "bump" in the profile (Battle Mountain), but it wasn't too bad. Shortly after I passed Minturn, I came across the same truck that brushed me a few hours earlier. I couldn't believe my luck. I stopped and talked to the guy and told him how close he came to me. It's funny when you actually get to talk to these people because they never seem to remember driving like an a-hole. At least now I have the name of the trucking company, the license plate number of the trailer, and the license plate number of the truck.

My mileage was at about 80 miles when I got back to the hospital and Christine was headed up for some post surgery x-rays. While she did that, I decided to shoot for a 100 miles and started heading up Vail pass again. After 10 miles, I turned back and met Christine at the hospital with an odometer reading of 100.7 miles. I think that's my first century this year.

Fremont Pass

Tennessee Pass

Lunch break in Leadville

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mountain Biking around Vail

After I dropped Christine off at PT this morning, I hopped on my mountain bike and rode up to the top of the Gondola at Vail. It was about a 50 minute climb on a service road, so not too exciting. I've ridden around by the condo too, and so far I've only seen one other person riding up the mountain (instead of taking the lift). I guess I can see the draw in that, but it makes me worry about people bombing down the hill not figuring that people actually do ride uphill. The nice part about riding in the morning before the Gondola starts running, though, is that you have the downhill all to yourself.

From the top of the Gondola, I took a "trail" called Lions Down. It was marked as a blue square on the trail map, but it was totally disappointing. For almost the whole way down it was another service road. At one point, I saw another trail nearby, so I rode over to it. It looks like they were just starting to build this trail because it abruptly ended without fanfare. I also tumbled over a log on this short section. It was a slow motion over the handlebars type of ordeal. On my way over I scraped my leg on the log's stump, so that tree got me twice.

Yesterday I took a ride up the mountain with Kuzca. At the beginning, she was all excited and was running all over the place. It didn't take long before she got good and tired, and on the way down she couldn't even keep up. I love it when she gets all tired like that.

The game plan tomorrow is to ride the Copper Triangle while Christine's mom is here to help out. I'll ride from Vail, to Copper Mountain, To Leadville, and back to Vail via Minturn. Right now, my legs feel tired from the long climb up the mountain, so hopefully they feel better tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Overnight stay

I've been hanging with Christine since she started to wake up. She's doing great, but the she's feeling nauseous as the anesthesia wears off. They're going to keep her over night since she hasn't been able to take oral pain meds yet. I'll pick her up at 5:30 tomorrow morning. After that, we'll hang out for a couple hours while we watch the Tour and wait for the PT people to show up at 7:30.

Surgery update

After they wheeled Christine away from me at about 7:45, I went back to the condo to walk the dog and change into some riding gear. I ended up parking the car in the hospital lot and just riding from there. The first mile or so of my ride was on a road, then it changed to a dirt forest service road. After a few miles, I got to the single track. It was a pretty fun....

More on that later. The doctor just came in and gave me some pictures of the surgery and said everything went well. She's waking up right now and he'll come get me soon and let me in. There was a pretty good tear that he had to repair and lots of inflammation. There was a possibility that he'd have to do microfractures on her bone, but he didn't need to. That means only a couple weeks on crutches and I know she'll be really happy about that.

More updates later...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting....

We did a lot of waiting this morning. The vast majority of it was waiting for the pre-op meeting with the surgeon. We finally got out of there at 12:30, and Christine is on her way back right now to have some blood work done and some other stuff.

We have to show up tomorrow morning at 6:30AM and she's scheduled to go into surgery at 7:30AM. There's a TV at the clinic that is showing the Tour de France, so I can watch that in the morning if I want. I don't really think I'm going to be able to still in the waiting room, so I think I'm going to ride my bike and try to forget about what's going on for a bit. My boss, Suzette, loaned me a book that has some trails information for the area and I think I'll check some out.

I just went out for a short mountain bike ride up Vail. I was on a service road and had just gotten to the single track I wanted to ride when it started raining. I would have toughed it out for a bit, but the clouds rolling in looked bad and there was a bunch of lightning coming with it. I haven't been on my mountain bike since before the Gila, so this short ride was probably a good chance for me to get reacquainted with the bike.

Hip Surgery - Pre-op MRI

I have a laptop, an iPhone, free wireless internet, and a whole lot of time. So I guess I'm live blogging Christine's hip surgery stuff. I'm sure this is going to set the blogosphere on fire.

Right now, I'm hanging out while Christine is getting an MRI. We arrived her about 10 minutes before her 8AM appointment, and it turns out that all the appointment times she was given were wrong. Apparently her MRI was scheduled for 9AM, but that conflicts with her other appointments. They got her in at 8:30, so we shouldn't be too off schedule wise. After this, we go talk to a physical therapist and then the surgeon I think.

There's a storm coming today and I'm hoping it holds out long enough for me to go mountain bike the resort a little. If not, I think we'll go do some grocery shopping. I don't mountain bike much, and it really shows when I try to pack things in a hurry. I forgot to bring my mini pump, and it would have been nice to have a CamelBak since I only have one water bottle cage on my bike. Maybe that's a good excuse to replace my old CamelBak. :) I wish there was an REI around here. I also I forgot to load Topo maps on my new Garmin bike computer. That would have been super useful for mountain biking around here. I'm trying to rectify the situation as we speak.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Vail "vacation"

We're up in Vail this week for Christine's surgery. I haven't spent much time in Vail in general. I've spent even less time here in the summer. It's quite nice. The village is very European and were hanging in a French-ish place with some wine and crepes while we watch me Tour.

I can't wait for this surgery to be over. Surgeries make me nervous.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Craptacular weekend - part 2

Okay, now let the bitching and moaning commence.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Crapulous weekend - part 1

I took Friday off to go backing, so my weekend started early and it was indeed craptastic. I'll save the whining for another post and keep this one focused on the "good".

Christine was in San Jose for the weekend, and I went backpacking with Kuzca. It was the first time I've done a solo trip. Kuzca is good company, but not as good as Christine.

I hiked up to Three Island Lake in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness near Steamboat Springs. The drive up to the trail head follows the Elk River, which was quite beautiful. It was flowing pretty well, but apparently it's even three feet higher in late May.

The hike up to Three Island Lake is about 3.5 miles long and it's easy to moderate in difficulty. One thing the I liked about being solo was hiking at whatever speed I wanted, and today that speed was fast. I had sort of a late start, so I decided I'd get a good workout in by hiking hard. We never stopped for more than a few seconds. As we neared the lake, Kuzca started slowing down so I took that as a hint to dial it back a bit.

The lake sits in a flat area which was a little soggy and perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes. They were vicious. If I stood anywhere for a few minutes, I would soon be swarmed. With all the snow pack and late thaw this year, I think the timing was just right for bugs. I can tolerate it by putting on bug spray, but I felt really bad for Kuzca. If I left her alone for just a minute, she would have bugs all over her nose and it would like like a crime scene when I brushed them away.

I was hoping to get away from the bugs by backtracking and camping up high. No such luck. They found me. We just had to keep moving around to keep the mosquitoes off. Later in the evening I built a small fire and it was pretty effective at keeping the bugs off. Kuzca didn't want to hang near the fire, so I just let her get in the tent and hang out.

I was up early Saturday morning and packed up before a quick breakfast of bagels and chai tea. We were back at the car and rolling by 9AM. More on the "fun" return trip in my next post.

Since I was traveling solo (+dog), I wanted to try some lightweight and easy meals. Dinner was a simple angel hair pasta dish with some oil, cheese, and red pepper flakes. Easy, simple, and tasty enough for me. For breakfast I tried Kraft Bagel-Fuls which are frozen bagel "tubes" stuffed with cream cheese. These worked out well because I put them in my bag frozen and let them thaw out on the hike.

This was also the first chance I got to try out my new sleeping pad. I got a short Therm-a-rest ProLite 4. It's light and packs down small. I wasn't sure how well I'd like the short pad, but it worked out okay. The only problem I had with it was with the material of the pad. It was very slick, so I found myself sliding around the tent (which wasn't quite level). Kuzca has a similar pad and had the same issue. It was funny to watch he stand up to get more comfortable and have the pad slide around under her.




More photos up on Flickr

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Niwot Crit - Down goes Fraser

I had some bad karma today. On the way to the race I hit a prairie dog with my car, and I stepped in some dog poo when I was walking to the registration desk. Maybe I should have turned around and gone home. :)

I didn't start well, but I stuck in the middle of the pack. It was a really tight course so passing people was difficult. The further back you are in the pack, the harder it is because you have to sprint out of each corner just to keep up with the front of the race. There were a couple of long straight sections where I was able to pass some people, but I never had the gas to really get up to the front.

I found myself taking some dumb lines through corners just because I was following the wheel in front of me. Eventually I got my head on straight and started taking better lines through the corners. I was pleased with how my confidence through the corners was improving. I haven't raced a crit in well over a month, so it took me some time to get my "crit head" back.

About 3/4 of the way through the race, the pace really slowed. We were taking the corners at an unreasonably slow pace. I decided to try and move up on the inside of one of the tight corners, and it didn't go well. The decision to move up was sound, but I foolishly tried to pedal through the corner and ended up clipping my pedal on the pavement. Total bummer. I went down, but not too hard. The bike is fine, and I have a few scrapes. I'll live to race another day (probably July 20th) at another crit.


Saturday, July 5, 2008


Christine and I went to the drive-in last night to see WALL-E. It was the first drive-in ever for Christine, and I haven't been to one in probably 10 years. We thought the crowd might be light since a lot of people would be watching fireworks, and we were right.

The movie was great (worth every bit of the good reviews it's getting). You should go see it. They were showing The Hulk afterwards, and neither of us was interested, so we left.

Snow Pea

Check out the baby pea Christine and I made:

Take that Jamie and Tyler. In yo face!