Every Ten Miles

With the extra horsepower I’ve felt on my singlespeed as of late, I’ve had a growing desire to buy a carbon hardtail. I like the Cysco and all, but I’m jonesing for something lighter and stiffer. I’ve got enough money saved up to buy something, but it’d involve some parts selling and maybe living close to paycheck-to-paycheck for a month or two. That’s not really my thing, so, even though the desire to make it happen is strong, I have been mulling over lots of purchasing options and not made any hard decisions yet.

Hold that thought for a few minutes.

Another strong desire I’ve felt for a long time is to get in to bikepacking. The pull I get from the mountains is almost magnetic. I feel physically drawn in to them. Good backpacking/bikepacking gear is expensive. That, along with Indy’s need for almost constant care, has been my barrier of entry in to the wilderness.

The other day, a man came in to the shop with a steel road bike and two flat tires. On his back, he carried a hacksaw and some hedge clippers. If I had to guess, I’d say he was somewhat homeless and did little odd jobs to feed himself. He was an incredibly interesting person. While I fixed his flats, he talked with my coworker Amanda about riding across the country and how free he felt doing it. As an avid bikepacker, she could relate.

He had a theory that every 10 miles, the landscape of the Earth changes. On a literal level, if you’ve ever ridden long distances by bike (or on foot), you might agree. When your mode of transportation is slow, you have time to notice subtle nuances in the terrain around you.

I thought about “every 10 miles” the whole way home that afternoon. Maybe it’s not the Earth’s terrain that changes every 10 miles of pedaling, but instead, your perception of the Earth around you. I’m drawn to the idea the same way I feel physically drawn into the belly of the mountains just to the West of my front door.

I went home and dropped a chunk of my carbon hardtail savings on a really nice sleeping bag and pad. The way I see it, it’s the difference between purchasing a “thing” versus purchasing an “experience.” I’m pretty good at riding the ti bike, anyway.

What about Indy?

I’ve found some very kind ladies at a doggie daycare called Rover’s Stay and Play. He gets to hang out behind the front desk and periodically go out make his right-hand circles in an outdoor kennel by himself. Between daycare and overnight help from Matt, I look forward to a couple of overnight trips this summer. I know Indy is somewhat of a burden to watch for anyone but myself, so I don’t have any current plans to go longer than that. Finding the daycare does open up a few more modest travel options than what I was limited to before, though, which is promising.

I don’t think most people would read so far in to a homeless dude’s theory of how the Earth’s formations exist. However, the more I think about the rate of personal transformation that can happen to you when you get on a bike and start pedaling, the more it fascinates me. I want to explore “every 10 miles” on both the literal and metaphorical levels.

Going to Moab and Getting Older

If you go to Moab and don’t post about it on the internet, did it actually happen??!? I don’t want to risk it, so…

I posted before about winning the bike shop lottery, and that still holds mostly true. It’s not easy to find a shop where, around the beginning of May, you can just knock off for a few days and take a Moab vacation (Well, I could do that at 92Fifty, but that’s because it was snowing and whatnot).

I took Matt along for his first Moab experience. We rode the Slickrock trail on the first day since we only had the afternoon, and it’s a trail that’s both interesting/iconic as much as it is worth getting out of the way early.


The next day was Porcupine Rim. The weather was spotty at best.


As we climbed Sand Flats to the start of Lower Porcupine Singletrack, we experienced the whole range of sun, rain, and, as we entered the trail, a few minutes of steady snow. A desert snow storm at the top of one of the most famous trails around is a unique and beautiful experience. The trail was mostly hero dirt… also rare and beautiful. And fast. The Mach 6 is still one of the most fun bikes I’ve ever ridden.

It took most of Porcupine Rim to get my nerve for tech/chunder up after being on the trainer all winter. I was feeling brave by the time we were at the bottom, though. Rolling back in to town, we made a stop at Milts… another iconic Moab spot.

Day three, we finally had perfect desert weather. We rode in the Amasa-back area- up Hymasa, down Ahab, then up Amasa Jeep trail and down Rockstacker and Jackson. I had several small victories on Ahab where I rode spots that I remember walking in the past. However, I also made what could be considered one of the worst GoPro videos of Rockstacker, as I slid/walked down the most infamous droppy spots on the trail. I will say, though, I’m getting waaaaaaaay better at dealing with exposure and dropping off of ledges. There are some spots that I know I’ll get eventually. There are some that I’m OK with never getting.

Screenshot from the video:


Since the weather had finally turned awesome, at the recommendation of the campground owner, we went to a local swimming hole following our ride.


Overnight, the weather went back to crap. So, day 4, we didn’t get any more riding before we had to get to driving home. On the drive home, the clutch in my Impreza started to die. By the time I was getting off the interstate near my house, I couldn’t put the car in to gear without the engine shutting off. Luckily, I got to the house, and my car insurance has a great roadside assistance program. I paid all of $7 to have it towed to a shop… where I paid all of $1100 to have a new clutch put into it.


That was a bummer considering I’d been shopping around for a new car and just hadn’t had the time to make it happen yet. I did eventually trade it in the day after my birthday-


I leave it to you guys to guess which one is mine.

My birthday was pretty rad all around. Not only did I get a sweet new car with the help of my parents, I am finally in a place where I’ve got some friends that are stoked to help me celebrate. At work, shop owner Steve gave me cake


Afterward, we went to Mountain Toad Brewery in Golden and had a couple of beers, and another cake that my amazing co-worker Amanda baked at home. I am not misusing the word “literally” when I say, I literally don’t remember the last time I had such a great birthday. I have tried to remember, but I can’t. I have no idea.

P.S. Speaking of birthdays, Indy turned 16 a couple of days ahead of my turning 35. He’s quite the little dog fossil.

Turning 35 is oddly frightening at this point in my life. Before now, every year older is another year more awesome. That still holds true, but, as I look around, I know that most women my age are “settled” with socially accepted careers and families. Here I am, a divorced bike mechanic, seeking out whatever adventures may find me in ColorAdo. Fun? Yes. Do I feel like others are judging me? Also yes.


My early-life proclamation that I don’t want to have kids feels more permanent by the day.

I have no regrets.

The age thing mostly hit me when I was looking at the registration page for an upcoming jiujitsu tournament, and I saw that I’m eligible to enter the Master’s division. I probably qualify for the same in some bike races as well, depending on the governing body of said race. Other than some occasionally intense back and finger joint pain, I don’t feel old. I’m actually in super great shape… not “for my age,” but for anyone. I’ve got better abs than I’ve ever had, and I’m ready to tear up some XC races on the singlespeed this summer. Master’s class be damned.



Snow Days

I’m pretty sure that the people who watch the weather in the Denver Metro area stay high on legal weed 24/7. Since it started getting cold, any time there’s imminent snow, there’s some sort of winter weather advisory. However, Tuesday morning, Indy woke me up at 5:30 to potty, and as I was stumbling half-asleep through the house to take him out, I wondered, “why the hell is it so bright in here?” Then, I looked out the back window and saw that there was a blanket of snow on everything.

Nothing like shoveling the porch at 5:30am in a snow storm to let your dog know you love him.

We ended up getting somewhere in the neighborhood of 8-10″ (TWSS)

Lucky for me, I’d brought a demo fat bike home from work a couple of days before that. My original plan had been to go ride up Rollins Pass, but I couldn’t leave Indy alone for that long, so I ended up not going. I set out on some of the less-busy roads and bike paths near my house.



They snow plow the paths here. It’s pretty sweet. I did figure out pretty quickly that trying to ride through unplowed powdery snow is basically impossible. My take on fat bikes based on my 2.5 hour initial ride is this- no bike is great at riding in the snow, it’s just that a fat bike is the least sucky of all bikes to ride in snow. I’d like to try one on trail sometime this winter.

I think the flask is a pretty important part of the riding attire

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Taking on Winter without going a little stir crazy has been a little bit of a challenge. Luckily, the weather usually isn’t too bad. Sometimes, I grab an occasional night ride after work.


Sometimes, I work on my ground and pound.


Working in a bike shop over winter is an exercise in keeping yourself busy/entertained.

I got to check out a SRAM ETap bike the other day. I like it. I’m on the last gen 2×10 SRAM Red right now, and it’s great. I’m going to hold out until ETap has been revised at least once and is available at the Rival level before I consider upgrading.


Speaking of upgrades… I upgraded a Speed Concept tri bike the other day.


If you don’t know what #onelessarmadillo is, you are missing out. Check out the Just Riding Along podcast on Mountain Bike Radio, and you’ll also hear about that, as well as the McSnuggie:


Don’t listen to the podcast if you’re my mom.

Ready to Rock

I think it’s been one of the busiest recovery weeks I can remember. That last Winter Park race was rough- and rightfully so. I basically was lumping race days in with more long training days, recovering during the middle of the week, then repeating the cycle over and over. Each time, the block of training days felt a little harder until finally, right on schedule, I went to race the last XC race, and my body was like, “DUDE, WTF???!?”

So, I took a few days off, and I’ve been riding on a more “normal” schedule since then. I even went for a nice hike on Fairburn Mountain, which is just across the street from my neighborhood. I could hang around in the aspen tunnel all day…


I also found this in the middle of the woods. No trail, no other sign that people had even been there for a long time-


Last week, Jessica and John from Texas came through while she was on a big road trip. I showed Jessica my favorite trail in Golden Gate Canyon- the Mountain Lion trail. It’s one of my top 5 favorite descents, ever. There aren’t many people I’d take straight to that trail, because it’s got some rocks, roots, and plenty of places where you can hit your front brake and see those things up close. However, Jess excels at rocks, so I knew she’d be game.


The next day, we went to Rollinsville Pass. I wanted to show them the train trestle on the Winter Park side, but a storm cloud began gathering and growing as we neared the top. So, in order to avoid the lightning and hail I’d encountered before, we turned back at the Needle’s Eye tunnel.




Monday, Kenny from Memphis also made a road-trip stop-through. Matt and I rode with him at White Ranch. My legs finally felt like they’ve turned a corner and started to feel really good. I pushed the pace a little on a climb, but kept the ride short and sweet after that. Kenny and Matt went on to ride some more, and I went home to eat and recover in the Elevated Legs.

Side Note- There will be an Elevated Legs squeezing station at Breck Epic. It will cost a little money, but considering how much you’ve invested already if you’re doing the race, it’s chump change. I will be nearly living in my set of Legs when I’m not racing because they really work to get rid of that heavy, dead, post-race feeling. You should check them out for sure.

It’s definitely a tough to balance between recovery and visitors, but I seem to have come through it successfully. It’s a good thing, too, because the ladies’ singlespeed division at Breck Epic is small but strong. I’m full of beet juice and awesome right now, though. I’m also going to be racing this totally kickass bike-


After the Steve Domahidy episode of JRA (one of the best ever, BTW), I hustled my way in to him letting me borrow one of his Domahidy Designs titanium frames. I put my Pike on it along with all my singlespeed parts, and it rides great. It makes me even more excited for next week.


I put some good time in during the last week. Sunday, I rode with Jon and Tim Lutz. We made he Grand Loop of nearly all the trails in Golden Gate Canyon.

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While I wasn’t feeling particularly fast that day, I was for whatever reason, full of endurance energy. I saw moose for the first time while we were out.

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It was a hair under 30 miles to ride from the shop, and about 5k feet of climbing. The trails out there are pretty great. Lots of ThunderChunk. My favorite. Afterward, the three of us went to a local bar/restaurant and consumed an exorbitant  amount of food.

Monday, I went out for an adventure up high(ish). I have been eyeing a loop that goes up Apex Valley and eventually comes out at Rollinsville Pass Road. I was in the company of thunderstorms all day, though the only time one actually got me, I found a place to hide out for a few minutes while it passed.

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The last two times I’ve scoped the route out, I was thwarted by large amounts of snow. This time, I wasn’t as thwarted, though I still found large-ish amounts of snow. The first pic is a short push at the top of the big climb of the day (about 10.5k’ elevation).


On the other side, I was hopeful that it’d be pretty clear


That wasn’t the case, though


I did eventually get to Rollinsville Pass Road. After tourist-ing around at the Moffat Tunnel entrance, I decided to see how high I could get up the pass before I hit snow.


Answer- about 3 miles


I headed on my way back down to Rollinsville and back south towards the house on another county road. I was greeted at the top with another half mile of snow.


I’ll probably save riding this loop again for sometime in July. It’s exceptionally gorgeous up there.

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That evening, I saw another moose. He was HUGE and just chilling out in the field behind my house. From what I gather of locals’ information, moose are basically gigantic angry horses on steroids and are not to be messed with. I got close enough to zoom in and get a few pics before retreating from his territory.




Tuesday morning, I wanted to go on another Apex Valley Road Adventure before work. In the hopes of keeping the ride at non-epic-pre-work length, I planned a route that would keep me somewhat close to the house. I was feeling the previous two days in my legs for sure, so I took it easy up the first climb


I saw a compact car full of young adults coming down from where I was headed. When I got to my turnoff from the main road, I saw what looked like their camp. They’d left their campfire not actively flaming but still red hot and smoldering. So, I dumped some snow on top of it.


Turns out, the road I wanted to take was uphill and covered in snow.


So, I tried to find the same road on the other side of the mountain, where it’d be downhill and covered in snow (way easier to hike through). However, all I did was get pretty lost. The jeep road I was snow-hike-a-biking on just ended at a creek. So, I bushwhack-hike-a-biked down the mountain to a county road I could take back home. Once I was at the road, I stopped to gather my thoughts.


I can get in to more shit on a three hour bike ride than what most people will get into during their entire lives. This place is amazing like that. There’s basically endless access to getting “lost” in the mountains around here. It’s awesomely soul-cleansing.



Lower Porcupine Rim Handicap World Cup Race

Jakub and I wanted to do some sort of a shorter and more intense ride on Monday morning so we could hit the road and be home at a decent hour ahead of some of the Memorial Day traffic. He had the idea of riding the lower portion of Porcupine Rim that you access from a jeep road turnoff about 5-6 miles up Sand Flats Road (if you were doing the “real” Lower Porcupine, you’d go 7-8 miles up, and for Upper Porcupine, you’d go 9 miles up Sand Flats and turn left for another 20ish minute climb up the Kokopelli Trail). He said he could do the lower loop in just three hours.

I had the idea of starting ahead of him and, at first assuming he’d catch me somewhere along the way. He wanted to give me a 25 minute lead since, on the second day of the trip (when I was having a bad time), he’d caught up to me on Sand Flats with me getting a 20 minute head start. However, I started to joke with him about the possibility of his not catching me.

Just a note about Jakub… he’s raced World Cup races for the Czech Republic. He’s fast. Really fast. He’s also young and hasn’t fully grasped the concept of Old Woman Power… something I’m just beginning to tap in to.

I played some head games with him-

Me: You want to hide the car keys here since I’m going to get back here ahead of you?
Jakub: Oh, yeah, sure
Me: What, you’re doubting yourself now?

It went on for most of the morning until I rolled out of camp at 7:55am.

I didn’t totally hammer… even the “short” loop was a long climb, the last few miles of which are a steppy, steep jeep trail. Blowing up early would make that section incredibly difficult.

I was watching my Garmin to note where I was on the climb at 8:20am. Then, my Garmin ran out of batteries somewhere around 8:40am. I’d just have to pace myself off of feel. I ate a couple of Gu Roctane gels on the way up. Side note- it’s not often that you’re gonna read me straight up schilling my sponsors, because honestly, that’s pretty obnoxious and transparent to read. However… Holy crap does Roctane give you a boost for the sort of intensity I was turning out. Seriously- it makes a hard effort feel less tiring. I’d be happy to give anyone a couple out of my own stock for you to try during your next interval workout. It takes normal energy gel to a whole ‘nother level.

I made it to the jeep road turnoff and the road behind me was still empty. I allowed my intensity to creep up just a little, because I knew that if I could rock the techy stuff, it’d keep me ahead. Along the way, I told a group of people to chant “USA” at Jakub when he chased by them. I reached the end of the jeep road at its intersection of the Porcupine Rim trail, and still no Jakub. I stopped and donned my knee pads.


Most people take a picture of what’s behind me here, because it’s gorgeous. Duty calls, though.

From there, it’s a little bit rollling before the trail goes mostly downhill. I hammered it out and let loose as much as I was willing. At that point, I knew the trail well enough to know where the scary stuff was and where I could go all out. I only looked back a couple of times, and no Jakub. I actually got just a little worried that he’d wrecked in his chasing. The last part of the trail gets a little hairy with some ledges and exposure. I was sure that I’d get caught there, but, lo and behold… I made it to the bike tunnel at the bottom, still ahead.


I checked the time (10:52am), took my picture, rolled through, and sat down on the rocks on the other side to take my knee pads off and eat a snack. About the time I was getting up to roll back to camp, Jakub came through the tunnel (10:57am). He’d gone all out. We high-fived and rolled back kinda easy on the bike path.

Perfect wrap-up for the trip. I’m finally feeling some fitness coming back. Not being able to go back and look at power numbers for the ride is a little disappointing, but I could tell on the harder jeep road stuff that my legs still had some juice, even after a 5 mile road climb. My descending is still just OK. Being alone that day, I took all of the “easier” options down the trail and avoided what drops I could. I gotta work on that.

More Moab!

With no end in sight to the rainy Colorado weather, 92Fifty shop-owner Jon Davis and I made an executive decision that we needed to go to Moab memorial day weekend and train where the weather was nice. Looking back, the fact that it was Memorial Day weekend was unfortunate. Jakub decided he’d join in for the weekend, and I rode over with him Thursday evening with the intention of grabbing a cheap, out-of-town campsite for Jon to park the shop Sprinter van in for the weekend.

Unfortunately, Thursday evening, the only out-of town openings we found were at a private place on Kane Creek road… the same price as being in town, but with no phone service, running water, showers, and located on a road that made me nervous with traffic. So, we found a spot in overflow camping at the Slick Rock RV Park/Campground in town. It was packed, but the conveniences balanced out the fact that people like to celebrate Memorial Day by being drunken jackasses. Jakub and I ended up camping there for the weekend, and Jon opted for the Kane Creek spot when he arrived Friday morning.


I figured out over the weekend why I have a subconscious avoidance of camping. It’s not that I don’t like sleeping in a tent and not having a kitchen close by. It’s that campgrounds (even when they aren’t Memorial Day-packed) are basically a showcase of how much people DGAF about other people. Late night noise being offender #1. Friday night, there were people having an actual dance party with loud music and louder talking and yelling. They were surprised when they were asked to stop doing that. The same went for the Saturday night group sitting around the campfire yelling and laughing about 20 feet from my tent (and closer to others’ tents). I had to ask them to be quiet at 2am. They at least got quiet enough that my ear plugs could muffle their voices and bottle clanking.

I digress…

Despite my campground complaints, the trails in Moab were as amazing as ever, and it was rad to have my new Mach 6 out in some chunky gnarly stuff. Friday, Jakub and I rode the Pipe Dream trail behind town before meeting up with Jon to ride Hymasa and Ahab. Between sleep deprivation and tired legs, I was having a hard time. I ended up wrecking on Ahab because I attempted to ride down a steep pile of rocks without enough speed. I was basically OK, but at that point, I was ready to be finished riding for the day. I made it back without any more bobbles, and Jakub and I drowned our post long ride hunger with a burger and fries from Milt’s.


P.S. Milt’s has delicious food- grass fed burgers, hand cut fries, and milkshakes… cheaper than most places in town, too.

Saturday, my sleep deprivation and tired legs were still haunting me. We all rode Porcupine Rim, though I basically rode slow enough up Sand Flats road that I let everyone else go ahead of me (on purpose). I was in one of those moods where I didn’t want to be around anyone… for their sake and mine. I told Jon to go on without me and I’d feel way better once I was at the bottom of the trail. It did result in a cool picture of a roadside memorial I hadn’t seen on other trips up-


Once I was up the climb and on the trail, I happened upon Anthony (from the 92Fifty shop team) who was trying to help a woman trailside with her wheel. She’d flatted her rear tire, and, in the process of changing the tube, she’d removed her quick release skewer. Somehow, something had become lodged inside the axle of the wheel, and she couldn’t get the skewer back through the wheel. I stopped to help. I examined it while Anthony gave the two ladies directions for walking out several miles down a gnarly jeep road to get back to Sand Flats to hitch a ride back to town.

“Anthony, hand me a rock.”

-Anthony hands me a golfball-sized rock-

“No, like a hammering-sized rock”

-Anthony hands me a rock larger than my hand-

Figuring that it wasn’t going to get any more broken than it already was, I put the skewer in the wheel as far as it would go and gave it a few hard whacks with the rock. Something popped out and bounced down the trail on about the 4th hit. I raised the rock and the “fixed” wheel into the air and yelled “I AM THE GREATEST MECHANIC IN THE WORLD!” The women took my photo, and, once I made sure that they were going to be alright, I kept motoring down the trail.

By the time I got to this spot just a few miles from the bottom, I was feeling way better.


My mood was definitely improved, even if my legs were still a little iffy.

The following day, I met up with Shane and Ky to go on a Portal trail adventure. It’s possible to start such an adventure with a long climb from town, but we opted for a shuttle instead.


We started from the Mag 7 trails, then went on to the Gold Bar and Portal Trails. Along the way, we had to hide under a rock to escape a random rain shower.



The Gold Bar Rim trail (formerly known as the “Blue Dot Trail” before it was “legalized”) is super fun. It’s got a few A and B lines marked, and a few tricky spots that warranted a look/go back ride. It gets hairy in a few spots, and the trail masters of Moab want to make sure that no one gets in over their heads.


The views up there are some of the best in Moab. You can basically see everywhere else you ride.




From Gold Bar Rim, the trail ends up at Portal, which begins with about a mile of extreme exposure. I walked a lot, because the consequence there isn’t a banged up knee or elbow, it’s death.



After that section, the trail plummets down dusty, sandy, rocky, chunky goodness. My specialty. Having a toned-down downhill bike in the Mach 6 basically means I was limited only by my use of brakes and my inability to negotiate left-hand switchbacks.

I made it safely to the bottom and took a pic with a Mountain Bike Radio sticker.


Now, I need to stop typing and get to yoga class. You’ll have to wait until the weekend to read about the first annual Porcupine Rim World Cup Handicap Race.


Cyclocross Bike for Sale and More Birthday Stuff

First off, my Cannondale SuperX is for sale. It’s been my super-awesome cyclocross bike for a few years, and, since I’m not all that in to cyclocross any more, I need to off-load it to offset the cost of the Mach 6. It’s a 52cm with SRAM Red shifters and rear derailleur, a Force front derailleur (works way better than the Red on CX rings), Rival Crank, Mavic Askium Wheels, TRP V-Brakes (way more power than Cantilevers), Zipp Alloy Bar, FSA Stem, Thompson Masterpiece Seatpost, Schwalbe Racing Ralph Tires (almost new), Blacburn Carbon Cages, full run rear cable housing (keeps the mud out), Custom Top Tube sticker.

$1800, shipped anywhere in the lower 48




Speaking of the Mach 6, it’s every bit of fun and more than I was expecting. I rode some pretty burly trail on Sunday in Golden Gate Canyon State Park, and it’s basically just point and go… as long as whatever you hit isn’t big enough to just totally stop you, the bike rolls over it like it’s a golf ball. This pic is from the Snowshoe Hare trail, which is steep and covered in rocks and roots. Everything is a line on the Mach 6.


I got to ride it twice in Golden Gate before this happened:





According to locals, snow this late is pretty crazy. The forecast for this week is calling for more cold and rainy days, so, naturally, that means it’s time to pack up the 92Fifty Train and head to Moab.

Indy got a birthday present that he enjoys as much as I’m loving the Mach 6:


In other birthday-related news, a couple of weeks ago, I went to a bank in Nederland to open an account. There was a display of paintings by an artist named Heather Taylor, and, while I sat there, I couldn’t stop looking at one of them. I found out the price for it and thought it was a little more than I should be spending at the time (not that it was overpriced… I can’t stand it when people complain about the price of art. I’m just saying I didn’t have the extra cash at the time). The painting stuck with me, though. I found myself thinking about the bright colors and the way she interpreted the scenery that I love out here in the mountains.

Then, my birthday rolled around. Not only did I have a nice birthday dinner, but I also got some birthday cash from my family. So, I went and picked up the painting I loved.


It makes me smile a little whenever I look at it.

I know a lot of women dread getting older. That’s silly. I look at ladies like Sue Haywood, Selene Yeager, and Rebecca Rusch (just to name a few off the top of my head) who are all in their 40s and totally killing it, and I get excited for what’s to come.

Birthday Awesomeness

Friday was my 34th birthday. It’s been a pretty great birthday week. Tuesday, I got a tracking number for my Mach 6 that showed it arriving in Black Hawk on Thursday. So, Thursday morning, I set off on a “explore/kill some time” adventure so that I wouldn’t sit in the driveway watching for the FedEx truck. I ventured out on some gravel roads that were pretty amazing. They ranged from graded/maintained county roads to single-lane, rock-laden jeep road through old gold mine areas north of Idaho Springs. The views over the valley that I70 runs through are huge.



There are a lot of options to explore out there…


My bike was at the shop when I arrived back at home. I cleaned up, ate, and went to go start the assembly while waiting for Matt to arrive for a little birthday dinner and JRA show recording. I got most of the parts hung. I was somewhat awestruck by the size of the fork. Funny “first big bike” moment… I went to bolt the front brake caliper on, and was like, “damnit, they didn’t send me a 180mm brake adapter.” Then, I realized that the fork’s posts are already sized for a 180mm rotor.


Once the parts were somewhat assembled, I went back to the house to meet Matt and have birthday dinner. Jon and Kathy have really made me feel at home since I moved out here. Warm and fuzzy feels all around. After dinner, we recorded a JRA show that involved possibly the most technical difficulties of any of our shows.

Friday morning, I finished assembly of my bike, and yesterday I took it our for a first ride in Golden Gate State Park.

Initial thoughts?

I still dislike DT Swiss Hub’s engagement, and I can’t wait for my I9 wheels to arrive. The Mach 6 is made with a low bottom bracket, so you have to time your pedaling over rocks to avoid pedal strikes. The slow engagement of the DT Swiss hub makes ratchet-pedaling somewhat ineffective. However, the durability and ease of maintenance is preferable to the hub that require this box of proprietary uni-tasking crap to service:


Side Note- If the going shop labor rate is $85 an hour, A DT Swiss freehub service costs $15, and Chris King service costs $40 labor.

Also, I’ve still got to tweak the front end fit a little and work on my own techy-climbing skill. It’s not easy keeping all that front end planted on the ground and moving in a straight line. I do like the 740mm bars, though today I’m going to try moving them down a spacer. My RaceFace 35 bar came in Friday, but I don’t have the 35 clamp stem yet. It’s slightly wider (760mm vs 740mm) and less rise (10mm vs 20mm), and I’ll also have both 50mm and 65mm Atlas 35 stems in the shop to test out (currently using a 60mm that came with the bike). It’s going to be a bit of a process figuring out the balance between the long/low-ish fit I’m used to and the short/high fit preferred by all who descend at a high rate of speed.

I am very glad I went with the medium frame, though. Even the 60mm stem feels like my bars are in my lap. A small would allow me to use a longer dropper post, but I can’t imagine ever being comfortable on something with a shorter reach. With stems coming in basically any size (including 0mm), I won’t ever run out of shorter options if I decide I need my bars even more in my lap.

Oh yeah, and, despite my feeling awkward climbing on my new bike, as soon as the trail is downhill… oh. my. GAWD. It fits my “pick any line” sort of style. Foot and bike traffic has created curves a foot or two each direction around beds of rocks, and it’s just like, “NOPE, I LIKE GOING IN A STRAIGHT LINE HERE.” It’s amazingly smooth and way more capable of going faster than my current skill allows.

I’m going to have a good time growing in to this bike.

The trails at Golden Gate Canyon are like Syllamo at 9-10k of altitude. Lots of rocks, steeps, and beautiful views… and it’s all basically in my back yard.




Sunday Morning Pain Train

My Moab adventure didn’t end on Saturday. The Colorado mountains were slated to get ~1 foot of snow Saturday night and in to early Sunday, and I knew that I70 had the potential to be terrible. I talked to a few enduro people about riding Sunday morning with the idea of hanging around until later in the day for the roads to clear and had some possible ride options. Another option was to join Tim Lutz (2nd place finisher of the CTR last year) for a long ride of some sort.

As I’d expected, the mountains were angry Saturday morning


I was sitting around in my yoga pants drinking coffee and enjoying the scenery when Macky and Syd messaged me to let me know they were headed to the trail.


I didn’t want to make them wait, so I decided to catch the Tim Lutz pain train on its way through town (he’d started riding early that morning from his camp north of town and would be passing through Moab on his way up Sand Flats Road about 25-30miles later). Tim’s plan was to do a loop similar to what I’d done last time, linking together the Slick Rock and Porcupine Rim Trails. I met him at the bottom of Sand Flats Road (which takes you to both places), and we were off into the mountains.

This is the part where I realize that I’ve gotten a little soft. I haven’t really been “training” per se, more like riding and taking lots of photos and/or socializing. Basically, I’ve been tooling around and taking lots of pause to enjoy scenery since sometime last fall. So, once we were on the Slick Rock Trail, I felt like I was dying just a little. Tim doesn’t stop much. And, when he does, it’s for seconds. Like this <1min clothing change:


That trail is basically a collection of 30sec-1min steep as hell climbs and descents. My dropper post stopped returning before the final race stage the day before, so I was forced to either not use it or to use it and stop to yank it up by hand once I was down whatever I was descending. Even though Tim was going “I’m not going to burn any matches today” ‘speed, my matchbook was set ablaze and mostly charcoal by the time we finished.

The ~1min bathroom break:


Once we were on Sand Flats Road headed up towards Porcupine Rim, Tim said he needed to lube his chain. In my head, that was worth at least two minutes. Nope. World’s fastest chain lubing:


In my head, I gave myself a little tough love, ate a Roctane, and resolved to this being the hardest training day I’d put in for the past few months. I needed it.

Instead of going all the way up to the Upper Porc Rim trail on Sand Flats Road, we turned off about halfway up and went up a jeep road climb to Lower Porc Rim.



It intersected the Porcupine Rim Trail at a really nice overlook.



We hauled ass on the way down. That’s the 3rd time I’ve ridden that trail now, and every time, I ride a little more and go a little faster (though, I purposefully didn’t hit the “big” drop I’d accidentally done the previous ride on the Mach 6). Not only is Tim a total machine, endurance-wise, he’s excellent at handling a bike as well.

At the bottom of the trail, we split and went to change before meeting back up for food. Apparently, his post-ride appetite rivals that of Matt’s. I was wonderfully exhausted and enjoyed doing mostly nothing for the remainder of the evening.

Sunday morning, the roads looked to be clear. I packed up and went to gather little Indy (happy birthday, Old Man… he turned 15 just a couple of days ago!) from Karen’s Canine Camp. I snapped a pic of Karen and all the other little dogs who he made friends with while he was there:


My plan worked well. The snow was well-melted and traffic was moving smoothly. I went to the shop Monday afternoon and gave my bike a once-over. The brakes had felt funny a couple of times. It probably had to do with the boiled mineral oil inside of them.


I also found out that 24 PSI still isn’t enough:


It still holds air like a champ, though. I trued it and I’m gonna keep rocking it for the forseeable future. I will be somewhat more prepared for the next race. My kneepads came in while I was gone-


And, my Mach 6 is on the truck RIGHT NOW for delivery! Also on its way, a carbon Enduro wheelset from Industry Nine and a RaceFace 35 Bar and Stem. I haven’t been this excited about a new bike for a very long time.