After my last post, I packed up, ate some breakfast, and left Dolores to head to Denver. Ryan flew in today to come out & visit for a few days & watch the Marathon Natz race.
Between Dolores and Durango, I perfected what should be the new offcial summertime sport of Colorado- RV Slalom. It’s where a series of RVs are blocking the road going up and/or down a mountain, and you use skilled driving maneuvers in order to get around the blockage. It was exhilarating.
Most of the remainder of the drive was spend wanting to melt the faces of the other drivers on the highway. Hardly anyone out here drives anywhere close to the speed limit, and no one will attempt to pass. What ends up happening is an engine-straining hail-mary pass around an entire glob of cars (and the occasional RV) putzing along at 50 in a 65mph area.
Between getting a late start and having to deal with traffic, I ended up two hours late to pick Ryan up from the airport. We decided that in lieu of setting up camp in the dark, that we’d get a room in Frisco for the night and go set up in the morning before heading out for some pre-ride action.
So that’s my boring day. It’s actually the first time that I’ve not enjoyed the drive someplace. It’s nice to have Ryan here, though…
Dolores is a really, really cool town. The population is around 600, but it’s got lots of little shops (including a bike shop that’s apparently always closed), two dispensaries, and the Dolores River Brewery. Everyone is really nice- it’s one of those places where people generally leave their doors unlocked and get around town by walking or by bike.
Tuesday morning, Lauren and I headed to Cortez- a nearby city that’s a little larger and has a great bike shop (Kokopelli Bike and Board) that’s not always closed. The fork on my Jet 9 wasn’t holding air, and I suspected that I’d done something wrong when re-assembling it after modifying the travel, so I needed someone to check it out. After we dropped it off, we ran a few other errands and headed back to Dolores to go for a quick spin on the road bikes.
Afterward, I headed back to get my bike- they’d fixed the fork (it actually wasn’t broken or assembled wrong and worked flawlessly once it was back together- quite the mystery), cleaned it up a bit, and even straightened out a bent tooth on my cassette! You don’t get customer service like that from a catalog.
Once I got back, I headed out to Boggy Draw-Ã‚ the local trail system. I rode the One9 and quickly realized that my legs were pretty sore from the previous days of riding, so I vowed to take the Jet9 (and its gears) out the next day.
My ride in the morning was nice- I rode the Bean Canyon trail at the same system. It had a bit more elevation change than the Boggy Draw loop that I’d ridden the day before, and also had a few more scenic spots…
Later on in the day, I ventured back out for a lady’s only group ride. I think the number of women who showed up is greater than the number of women in Shelby County who own MTBs…(a couple aren’t pictured here because they split off to find their dog) Everyone was incredibly nice, and we had a great time!
Chapter 2 was a quick one! I’m off now to pick Ryan up at the airport and head back to Breckenridge for Marathon Nationals this Sunday. The elevation will be higher, and the course looks killer. It should be a good test of the legs/lungs.
Monday morning, I was up early as usual. It was cold- 38 degrees F. After hiding under a blanket with my coffee in the yurt, I made my last few trips to the car to load everything up to head north to Colorado for the next part of my trip. That was a gorgeous drive…
I’m not sure what this was, but I really wanted to participate…
First on the agenda was to get to Durango to pick my buddy Lauren up from the airport. She wasn’t arriving until nearly 10:30, though, so I figured that after some lunch, I’d head out for an afternoon ride on one of the 50 zillion trails in the area. Luckily, after a quick tweet wondering which one I should choose, I got a reply from Allison Mann to try the Dry Fork trail:
Just a few minutes after that last one, I had the first near-death experience of my trip…Ã‚ I’d just topped out over a climb that had made my heart feel like it was about to explode when I startled a baby black bear. It ran along the side of the trail, crossed in front of me, then darted up a tree overhanging the trail. From the top of the tree, he started calling for help. In my mind, I pictured the momma bear flying out of the bushes and mauling my brain out of my head. I resisted panic and rode as fast as I could under the tree and didn’t stop until I was far away…
Other than that, it was a great ride. I cleaned up, had some dinner, picked Lauren up, and headed to her place in Dolores.
Just a few minutes ago, I was sitting around eating my morning oatmeal when a Chevrolet commercial came on the television. Attracted by the sight of auotomotive crash testing, I was sucked in to the commercial advertising some sort of new “thing” (Lauren and I couldn’t figure out exactly what it is) called “RedX”. They briefly showed a logo for it, and, much to my surprise, the logo is a ripoff of SRAM’s Red and XX logos. WTF?!?
Here’s a screen capture from the Youtube video of the commercial:
I like how they’ve added in “Red X is a registered trademark…” at the bottom. Being the SRAM Fangirl that I am, I’m gonna forward this on to them. Chevy be damned.
Day 4 (cont.)
Turns out, after a couple of hours of lower altitude and a greasy basket of fried fish from Heck’s Diner in Cimarron, I felt like a million bucks. When I arrived back at camp, I geared up and headed back up Windy Gap- this time, on the One9. Without stopping for photos, I made it up in 59 minutes flat. The last mile is a killer. When I got back, I took some amazing sunset photosÃ‚ around the camp.
My last whole day at Whiteman Vega was nearly a wash… I’d planned on climbing Windy Gap and taking a backroad/trail down instead of going out/back as the previous two days. However, before we could get out to ride, it started to rain. Actually, it started hailing first (photos will be in the gallery). So, we ended up hanging around in the yurt most of the day. I passed the time taking photos of the guys and converting the yurt into a velodrome. Turns out you CAN ride a 29er around in there without dabbing a foot.
The weather eventually let up. I had just enough time before dark to ride up Windy Gap one more time- this time with Casey and Peter. The rain made the gravel road traction a LOT better than it had been. It helped me get up in just overÃ‚ 54 minutes. I think I’m getting used to the singlespeed/altitude thing! I’m mighty proud of the guys that are trying the whole “climbing” thing. Casey aside, none of them had gone after a long-ish climb before on purpose, so it was great to see them inspired to push themselves in ways other than catching some air or bombing down a hill. Hopefully they all keep it up.
Day 2 (cont.)
When I left you last, I was at a burrito stand in Cimarron, NM about to head out to the backcountry scout camp at Whiteman Vega. The directions to get there include nearly 30 miles of gravel road as well as “park next to my truck, head down the fence, make sure you shut the gate behind you, and look for the big white yurt.” I’m happy to report that I was able to do all of these things without getting lost.
When I arrived, Eric was there. He showed me where to set my tent up and helped me get a few more things from my car (camp is about a mile from the parking area). I got settled and met the other guys that were staying there- Peter (who reminds me of Kenneth from 30 Rock), Waters, and Casey (a cat 2 roadie/ginger kid). After a little while, I kitted up & headed out to ride the singlespeed on the 3.5 mile loop of singletrack that they’d built. That was fun, but I wanted to get some more miles, so I headed out on the forest road from the direction that I came in on- I figured it’d be a good workout, because it steadily gains elevation as you head towards camp, so it was easier on the way out & harder on the way back.
My legs felt alright- camp is at about 7800 ft elevation, and I think that the heat/humidity acclimatization from Memphis prepared me a bit for the altitude. I ended up with 30 miles for the day.
Day 3 When I woke up, I felt a little more fatigued than I expected and had a slight headache. Nevertheless, I ate breakfast, had some coffee, and planned my ride for the morning. I asked the guys about where the forest road went if you headed the other way from the paring area. Waters’ eyes got huge as he described to me the horrendous climb that I’d face up Windy Gap if I ventured out that way. Looking at a topo map, it did look pretty tough- from camp, the road pitched up to 9600 ft. in about 9 miles.
I decided I’d head out on the Jet9 so I could use my gears. Turns out, aside from a few steep spots and the absolute length of the climb itself, it wasn’t nearly as hard as the guys had made it sound. Unlike the climbs I’ve seen in the past that seem to go for brevity at the expense of grade, this one was generally mellow. I made it up in 1hr and 8 minutes (including a couple of photo stops). The descent took about 20 minutes, and was a hairy because of some ridges in the ground as well as unpredicably deep gravel in places.
When I arrived back, I was starved. I ate, and while I was sitting at the table, started to feel massively fatigued. So, I headed back to my tent after lunch and napped for about an hour. When I woke up, my headache was gone, and I generally felt a bit better. I ate a snack, and sat around enjoying everyone’s company until we were ready to get out & ride some more.
In the meantime, Waters announced that he was going to go try the Windy Gap climb. I was surprised- he’d been the first to warn me of its difficulty earlier, so it was great to see him get inspired to give it a shot (he ended up making it up about 5 of the 9 miles and vowed to keep after it the remainder of the summer).
Soon after, we got ready to ride again. This time, I rode with Casey. I’m not ashamed to say, between his cat 2 fitness, the altitude, and my earlier ride, he flat kicked my butt. It didn’t help that he set a new PR time for the loop with me chasing after him. The next two loops were slightly slower. It was still a really good, hard hour of training, giving me another 3hoursÃ‚ for the day.
When I woke up this morning, I had all intentions of riding my One9 up Windy Gap. However, after breakfast, I started to feel run down. I’ve also been feeling insatiably hungry all morning. I decided I’d come down here to Cimarron and hit up the Laundromat and Grocery store to give myself a break at slightly lower elevation (6400 ft). I’ll ride this afternoon, though I’m not sure if I’ll take on the 9 mile climb on my singlespeed. It’ll depend on how I’m feeling when I get back.
Of course, I’ve taken some awesome photos of the scenery and wildlife. However, the Mifi signal here is really slow, so you’ll have to wait until Monday or Tuesday for me to get them uploaded. Looks like my laundry is done… time to get back to camp!
I’m currently located at a burrito stand in Cimarron, NM (you can see it in the photos). I love Verizon Mifi!
Yesterday, I made half the trip and stopped to spend the night near Hinton, OK at Red Rock Canyon State Park. The landscape there is pretty unique, as I discovered while hiking around before dinner.
This morning, I was up with the sun to finish my drive to Cimarron. I set the Garmin to display elevation, and slowly watched it tick up from 1450 feet to the current 6k & change where I sit now. That was a good burrito…
I’m heading up to meet Eric (remember- from the Ouachita Challenge?) at the Whiteman Vega scout camp for some mountain bike riding. There’s no cell service or anything, so you probably won’t hear from me again until next week. ‘Til then, here are some photos… (in random order, apparently)
I can’t get quite in to the detail that I normally do since I’m trying to wrap up packing for a month long trip out West for some training and racing, but here’s a bit of a rundown on the Memphis Velo/Smith & Nephew Grand Prix…
Thursday morning, I woke up feeling kinda cruddy. My head hurt, and I generally felt tired. As the day progressed, I kept feeling worse, and ended up with a sore throat and fever that lasted through friday night. So, even though I’d had every intention of racing with my team Saturday morning, I decided to skip the road race in order to keep recovering from whatever bug had struck me down.
The race itself had a great turnout (as far as women’s races are concerned). 31 ladies signed up for the omnium, including Debbie Milne, who also registered (and raced) in the men’s P/1/2 race. Spoiler alert- she won all three of the women’sÃ‚ omnium events, and held her own in the men’s races. M-B fielded 6 total (though only 4 completed all 3 events).
Saturday afternoon (after pacing around the house all day like a hungry tiger at the zoo), I mustered the energy to head to Germantown for the short, painful time trial. I didn’t feel great, but I still managed to pull off a 3rd place finish behind Debbie and my teammate Marda. Even though I had some issues with chest & throat congestion, I was glad to get out and open my leg muscles a bit.
Sunday morning, I wasn’t very sure how I’d feel. I was rested, but also still not quite feeling like myself. Given the results of the RR and TT, my position was of workhorse. Job #1 was to mark several riders who were placed well in the overall points. If they tried to escape, I was to chase and be absolutely unhelpful in their efforts to get away.
Job #2 was to try and get Marda and Kat up the road. After nearly spacing out halfway through the race, I remembered them. I attacked, looking for one of them to counter. Alas, Kat tried a couple of times. I knew I didn’t have much left, so with 1 lap to go, I went for broke with an all out effort that left me close to passing out on the back side of the course. I’m not sure exactly what happened after that, but Marda ended up 3rd, and the others were up high enough in the placings to end up 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in the Overall placing. Generally a sucess, I’d like to think.
This week, I’ve been trying to prep to leave town. I’ll be heading to Cimarron, Dolores, Breckenridge, Winter Park, and lord only knows where else. I’ll be gone ’til mid-july. Today was a good One9 shakedown at Clear Creek. That bike freaking ROCKS. I love SS… I even bought some fun socks to celebrate.
Keep watching for some awesome road trip adventures.
So, I got an M-B team bike a couple of months ago. As you may have noticed from the TDL photos, I’m not riding it. Turns out, even though it weighs a couple of pounds more and isn’t nearly as good looking, I really, really like my 2008 BH Connect. Turns out, I’m an uber-picky bike snob.
As a result, I am trying to sell the Trek. It’s a gorgeous bike, and everyone loves them, but I just don’t like it as much as the BH. Kitted out in SRAM Red and RXL Clinchers, it’s in the 14 pound range.
Other stuff: it’s got 172.5mm cranks, 40cm wide bars (FSA Compacts), 105mm stem, “performance” fit geometry, and very few signs of wear (a very faint scratch on the top tube, and one on the seatmast from the seatpost clamp). I rode different wheels/tires on it (for the entire 2 months that I rode it), so those have almost no wear at all.