Tuesday, April 29, 2008

winning a race

I haven't felt that in quite a while.
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this evening

We had yet another incredible sunset here.

And Helen was tugging Alina around in a little cart for wooden blocks.
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not sure why...

but I like this...

Monday, April 28, 2008

race recap

Well, it was just a "practice" race, but nonetheless #2 is in the books. Due to the snow/rain/wind along the Front Range and in the northern mountains, not many people showed up. Probably 25-30 people total, for all xc categories, men and women. I had 3 pros and 3 other experts to ride with, so not too bad. Stayed up late the night before, and legs were flat in the morning...dohh. Woke up Saturday morning to driving snow, which soon had me engaging 4WD on the way up Hoosier Pass. But as soon as I crossed the Divide into Park County, there wasn't a drop of snow, just a bunch of wind.

This Yeti Spring Series race, along with the Mountain State Cup's Chalk Creek Stampede both take place on a private cattle ranch in Nathrop, about 7mi south of Buena Vista, just east of the Collegiate Peaks. Elevation around 7,000', so high-desert terrain, composed of sand, rock, yucca, cactuc, juniper and some pinon pine. Pretty nice to be riding singletrack. Since it was early season, the course hasn't been burned in by previous riders much, so it was very loose, sandy in spots, quite rocky in others. Keith Darner of RPM Yeti gave us the quick lowdown prior to the start. It was cool...he said that "Jethro" has the right of way. Jethro is Keith's father-in-law's 2000lb prize bull. Okay, no problemo, I'll certainly yield to this beast. Then Keith proceeded to say that if we veer off the trail, there's "about a 50% chance of running over a cactus, and about a 40% chance of runnning over a cow terd. Sweet! Anyway, course was the same one I've raced on for 4-5 years. Flat fast jeep road start in the big ring, headed down the swale towards the highway for about 1/2mi. Then we turn north, into the wind, and start the climb up to the top of the desert mesa. Up top involves a couple stiff climbs, some flowing singletrack, then a couple more loose, rocky descents across gulches, then the dreaded "fence climb." The fence climb is a horrendously straight climb along this livestock fence, heading us straight west into the downsloping wind coming off of Mt Princeton. Typically just a middle ring climb, but throw in a sustained 30mph wind, add the mental torture of seeing the trail 1/2mi in the distance, and it was tough. Then after the fence was our reward. About 1mi of 30+mph high-speed singletrack down the top of the mesa, then descending into the Chalk Creek valley and then some undulating singletrack along the creek back to the finish. Three 7mi loops. I let go of some good wheels in front of me early, then rode my own race. Luckily I had one rider to pick off during the 2nd lap, and on the 3rd lap I pretty much rode solo in no man's land. 3rd out of only 4 experts, but still a great training effort for late April, esp. considering next weekend's race is on the same course.

Looks like nice weather here til Thurs, so that'll be my only rest day. Gotta get the time in now, before our vaca in mid-May fattens me up and I lose some precious fitness.

Friday, April 25, 2008

more of Alina

This is a shot of Alina outside the hotel in Fruita. Enjoying warmer weather and some green grass. Oh what simple pleasures!

These are pics of a dress Diana bought for Alina for a wedding we're going to for cousin Sarah back in NY later in the summer.
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Helen's race last wknd

Helen won the 50mi race last wknd. Even though she won, it still took her over 9hrs to finish it (the nature of a 50mi trail race with over 5,000' of climbing). Some pics I snapped.

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Helen's birthday

A couple weeks back (to the day, today) we celebrated Helen's 31st birthday. Ironically, Helen (and Alina) made the cupcakes. Yumm...cream cheese icing.

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Some of her art on display at the County Commons in Frisco-

They say take a lot of pics of your kid sleeping, since most love the candid nature. So here's a recent one.
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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bike path clear

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Fruita race

Helen won her first 50 of the season this past Saturday! I think she was over an hour in front of the 2nd place woman. Great to enjoy the warmth out west. Even here in Breck we finally are looking at a nice week-long stretch of good weather. That's good b/c we have a ton of snow in the yard still. That's Montana lying on about 6' of packed snow in our backyard!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Waiting for mommy...

Waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting...

Considering Helen has another 20 or so miles left, I told Alina it might be a while.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008


all I can say is wow, wow, wow. they only reported 3", but it was easily over a foot, especially skiing the luge (as seen above). there was easily over 18" of fresh, untracked snow on that run. as you can see, no one else had been in there. Far and away my best day riding at Breck this season. And it was bitter sweet, as it may have been my last day on the hill all season. going out to the desert for the Rabbit Valley Rally. Should be fun, sunny and mid 60s projected for race day!

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008


on the blog updates lately. Suffice it to say winter is still here, spring is buried by about 3-4' of snow in the yard still. Luckily we made it out to Boulder on Friday night. We went to Sherpa's to celebrate Helen's birthday (this Friday, 4/11 actually) with the Hills. Saturday Helen and I were lucky enough to get out and run/ride for a few hours each. Sunday the snow moved in, and it snowed off and on all day Monday and last night. Today it was overcast and 12 in the am, but has since warmed up to be a nice partly sunny day. Good thing, as they're forecasting over a foot of snow late tonight through early Friday morning. Yuck.

mid stride (or lunge) at Bill & Mary's house Friday night. she loves open expanses of rooms to cruise around in and tumble.

Bill's custom cabinet doors in his newly remodeled studio. they turned out well.

Alina with a typical dessert of a popsicle. I was messing with my wireless flash triggering by shooting a strobe from camera right so it would hit Alina on the side. Looks okay, but not great. But that would be the beauty of wireless eTTL, being able to meter properly on a quickly moving child.

A shot of our living room. The remote slave flash is in the foyer in the rear of the picture. Problem is that my slave has no manual control, it's either 100% power or no fire at all. In this case, it fired at 100%, and it's obvious that it was a bit too much light, at least compared to the mostly ambient scene. Weak, time for another $400 580EXII I think.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

a pic from Easter

one of Helen's co-workers took this pic of Alina the Easter Egg hunt over at Gold Run Nordic center.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

heavily buried

that's the local trail conditions report for April 2nd, 2008. I keep remaining positive and optimistic (those that know me know those aren't really my virtues) that we will at some point have a 7-14 day dry or warm spell in late April or May. Even with the snow depths we have now, a lot of snow can evaporate and melt quickly once the air is in the upper 50s and 60s. But I could be proven wrong. All winter long, we haven't had a prolonged dry spell or warmth. Although it still seems to snow almost every 2-3 days, we are at least getting some warm temps. The snow really doesn't stick around in town anymore. That's allowing for some easy training around town on the local roads. And after this weekend when town finally slows down, these roads will be that much safer and enjoyable. Last year I rode the Frisco peninsula trails on May 2nd. At this rate, if I ride Frisco anytime before mid-May I'd be extremely surprised.


besides indoor riding, I really haven't been out on the road bike at all. the 'cross bike has been better suited to the dry gravelly roads around Summit County, and otherwise I've ridden my mountain bike in Moab, Fruita and Lyons. I am hoping to ride Hall again on Saturday, but if the weather tomorrow keeps the trails damp, I may need to ride on the road. Not necessarily bad, I would look forward to a 75mi day out to Carter Lake and back.

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Alina was getting ready to enjoy a smoothie up at the bar.

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