Friday, July 15, 2011

The Final Leg

Help me fight cancer. Donate Here.

Follow Lauren's trip at Gluten less sweet tooth.
Just a few miles more...

Today promised to be HOT. Rumor has it that today was the hottest day of the summer. I never actually checked a reputable source, but the grapevine put the temperature anywhere from 103 to 107 F. If you're from Europe and use the Celsius scale, that is really hot.

Today started out unlike any other day. Today started bad. First of all, I woke up early. It was dark and early. Then I stepped in mud. That mud on my cycling shoe kept me from clipping in. So I had to stop and, as best as I could, clean off my cleats. Then there was the headwind. That made it slow and painful. Then I did something truly foolish...

Check out the track to Scott City Here.

With the mud, ahh yes, the mud. No rain, just mud... on my cleat, I wasn't situated in the pedal quite right. So I adjusted my cleat after about 7 miles. Then I rode 50 more pushing and pushing into the wind. I felt it a little in my knee, but just pushed on. Until later, now I really feel it in my knee. Stupid.

It is amazing the things you get stuck behind in Kansas. First of all, there are the bugs. Then there are these things. But, in my second mistake of the day, I let him go. I had to slow down as he pulled out in front of me. Then, I sped up in the swirling wind behind the truck. I kept speeding up without really trying. Awesome. But, instead of being Moro aced by a combine at 35 mph, I pulled out my camera and took a picture as the truck pulled away. I missed a chance for something special (fast).

Once again, we were relaying and I rode on to Scott City. About 57 miles from where I started and about 80 miles from anywhere. There I picked up the car, then picked up my mother (25 miles) and then met Lauren (who had covered 55 miles) in Ness City.

Lauren and I rode on together for Alexander. We worked together, and the wind had shifted around just a little, and we made Alexander in a little under an hour (19 miles). Or leg of the Ride for Jim is done. Check the track Here.

Of course, I owe a lot of thanks to everyone who helped, especially my Family and Lauren. Also, Jack Haar who started this whole thing. and Charley Nottingham who followed Jack (both of them rode ALL the way across the country WITH GEAR). And countless others. All of you, thank you.

So, it was with great joy that we left the urban sprawl of Alexander, Ks (pop. 75) and pushed on. We ate at the Kitchen Pass in one of the towns along the way. Their signature burger (not making this up) is a hamburger patty with velveeta. Yum, yum. With that in my gullet, we pushed onward until we hit Branson, Ms, the family friendly Vegas in the Ozarks.

Location:Alexander, Ks

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Case of the Missing Three Miles

Help me fight cancer. Donate Here.

We are in Kansas anymore.

Today started just like any other day: fast. I tore out of Pueblo this morning and made for Ordway. A sign along the way said it was 39 miles. Then, 6 miles later, another sign read 30 miles. I don't know where this miles went, but I wouldn't say I missed them...

Western Colorado is flat. Flat and flat. Not too much here. I stopped briefly in Olney Springs and refilled my water bottle and dodged some missiles. Why were there missiles in Olney Springs, Co? Good question.

Two old men sitting in front of Uncle Billy's Favorite Things (a really cool little diner, but at 10 am, not breakfast, not lunch, just water) warned me that I there was nothing past Sugar City. Unfortunately, Sugar City turned out to be fake.

I have to admit, I feel like a cheater on the trail. No heavy bags, no trailer. All of my heavy things are being carried in a car. You see, my parents recently moved from Denver to Washington, DC and had a car to bring with them.

Now, due to pending obligations in Virginia and travel plans and, well, the roads and excitement, we have had to speed it doing a relay. I rode from Pueblo to Ordway (51 miles), then I picked up the car, drove until I met Lauren (who biked from Ordway). Then I jumped on my bike and we finished up the ride into Eads. There is nothing open in Eads on Sunday, or probably most other days, except one diner. We stopped in and were, ahem, impressed. Sloppy Joes were on the Lighter Side menu. Yum. So, Lauren and I went with the gluten free menu, that is, fries and ice cream.

Our original plan was to kill time in Eads then ride on to tribune this evening. But, with nothing in Eads (as e had missed Mexican food Fridays), I rode on to Sheridan Lake... another 30 miles. The town of Sheridan Lake is visible from about 10 miles away. That last 10 miles was the hardest of my day. The wind picked up, my pace slowed, and Sheridan Lake loomed just as far off as ever.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Lauren rode from Sheridan Lake into Kansas... Together we covered about 150 miles, then the thermostat tipped over 100 and we decided that we had done/had enough. More ice cream and much rejoicing followed.

Check out my tracks here and here.

Location:Towner, Ks

Sunday, July 10, 2011

3 Strange Days in the Mile High City

Help me fight cancer. Donate Here.

So, with cycling and family and everything et al and what not, I needed a break to take care of some things. I paid my credit cards, sat on my duff, watched some stages of le Tour.

I woke up in the morning, skipped the energy bars and had a real breakfast. Then, I went and got my hair done. I got a permanent, hopefully it will not be ruined by my helmet. By the way, here is some crazy footage of Chris Horner suffering from a head injury. He doesn't know where he is or whether he finished the stage. And he WAS WEARING A HELMET. That's why we wear them...

Once my hair was fixed, I went to work on my base tan. Need a tan in a strange city, go where the cheerleaders go... That's what I always say.

I did try out a new bike. I liked it, but just wasn't sure... I'm going to stick with my Scott CR1... for now.

Then it was on to a short training ride. Got lost, hit a thunderstorm, accidentally put in 50 miles. You know, the usual. You can track me here. The storm, the accidental turn down the dirt road meant it was bike cleaning time.

With a clean bike, it was on to dinner and desert at my aunt's place. She made some killer salmon and a redonculous potato salad with peppers and onions and broccoli flowers. Um, yum! And Lauren went crazy with the ice cream maker. More Jamocha Almond Fudge... But with walnuts. Sooooo good.

And that is my typical rest day... Or it could have been like yesterday, the feast of Arnold de Saissons. We celebrated by brewing beer. Of course, we also sampled some other flavors as we brewed. All in all a fine day of hops and barley and good company. Thanks Kristen and Scott.

Or, the day before when we headed into downtown Denver and saw a manhole cover blow off, and a wet bike path.

Location:Denver, Co

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Resting and Relaxing on the top of the World

Help me fight cancer. Donate Here.

In the interest of recovering from yesterday's long ride, I spent the whole day off my bike. But not resting. No, economic opportunity awaited.

Our intrepid group set out early from Denver, and we were on the trail before 8.

(me in the yellow hat)

My brother and I chose to climb Torrey's by the more difficult Kelso Ridge, while Lauren went up the standard route... And waited for us. It was a fun climb with some great scrambling, and a lot of lung busting altitude. But we topped out on the snowy summit of Torrey's at 14,267 feet. After pausing for some pepperoni and chocolate, we descended into the saddle. While Lauren and my brother pushed up Grays Peak, I ambled back to the car.

I've climbed Grays before, and I decided to forgo the pain that awaited me. So, I slid down a long snowfield, descending almost 800 feet in just over 4 minutes. Sure, I filled my boots with snow, but it was worth it.

Then it was on to Mountain Buzz cafe for the finest cappuccino in the mountains, then home for some coffee encrusted pork loin and homemade jamocha almond fudge ice cream (thanks Aunt Jo). I'm still not sure what a jamocha is.

Just in case you want to track my trek, it is here.
And, no, we never found Lulu.

Location:Torrey's Peak, Co

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Guffy at the End of the World

Help me fight cancer. Donate Here.

I took in the fireworks in Breckenridge, and started today with some caffeine, sunscreen, and the usual violence at Cafe Steam & Cream in Fairplay, where yesterday's ride ended. Lauren, foolishly, decided that she wanted to do as much of the ride as she could. She chose the wrong day...

We tore out of Fairplay with what might have been a slight tailwind. During the first hour, we covered 24.5 miles. That's 24.5 mph, that's fast. (faster in kilometers at 39.4 kph).

Today's elevation profile had me excited. We started in Fairplay, at almost 10,000 feet and planned to end in Pueblo at 4600-something feet. That would be a lot of elevation loss, and the map made it look like it was mostly downhill all day. That was a lie. There were some long climbs that really hurt. That, and there some... um, booby traps. I'm pretty sure they were placed by one of the coyotes we saw hunting the road runners we did not see.

We flew along the roads, up the climbs and screamed down the descents. The more altitude we lost, the warmer it got. Soon, we were out of water and in the middle of nowhere.... With a real estate office... and Guffy... a mile UP the road. Guffy was not an option, that was uphill. We found a spicket outside the closed real estate office with the large welcome sign. So we filled up our water bottles and checked each of the four maps. They were large, one of them covered roughly half of Colorado. But all of the maps ended about 3 miles south of Guffy. We had clearly come to Guffy at the end of the World, and we just wanted to know how far to the next town.

Maps or not, we pushed on to Cañon City, our lunch stop. We decided to forgo our usual lunch for something a bit better. And, yes, that is gluten free pizza. I think we shocked our waitress a bit with our good looks and by finishing the family size salad, pizza, and three pitchers of water.

We launched ourselves back into what was now truly desert and passed four different prisons and through 90+ degree strength sapping heat. The water disappeared quickly. We got into Wettemore looking for water. No water in Wettemore. I was not amused by the irony, I was worried. There were no more towns or water fountains for 30 miles. Lauren grabbed some water bottles and walked across the street. She said a quick prayer that she would find a hose, and found a church with a spicket. Prayer answered. We sat and drank a bottle of water.

Then a woman let us into the Wettemore community center and Library and we scored some water and ice and set out for Pueblo. Mostly downhill with no towns... or water... until Pueblo... 30 miles away. Oh, and there was a head wind. For about 80 miles. It was a painful day, but that Gatorade and ice cream bar from the drug store hit the spot. We rolled downhill riverwalk and called it a day with a burger (no bun). After 127 miles, it was nice to be off the bike seat.

Monday, July 4, 2011

11,500 feet.

Help me fight cancer. Donate Here.

Click the box on the side... Check out the elevation.

Thank goodness for thumbs, because this is being typed on a smart phone (which has started acting funny and may now be self aware).

Today started off slow from Heeney. I may have been a little stiff. But. Found my legs and started rolling well. Then it got slower. Señor Headwind was back and he was an ugly brute. I shifted into my small ring on a descent. It was that bad.

But at least there was this cheery fellow. We sized each other up. He was bigger. I think he also took exception to having his picture taken. Fortunately, there was a fence between us. Then I noticed the fence was broken. So, away from the angry moose and into the angry headwind.
I must say, the aspens do shimmer in a headwind... But I would like to see what they look like in a tailwind.

Onward to Dillon and the dam hill up to the dam road. And around the lake to Frisco where I went up and down the parade route and then met my crew who bravely saved from a Buffalo and bought me a cappuccino.

After a bit o' caffeine Lauren joined me and we set out for Breckenridge and the Hoosier Pass (stopping briefly at lemonade stand... Country time. I feel so American). Then we climbed. Hoosier Pass is classified as a Category 2 climb... And fun. What makes it tough is the long slow climb from Breckenridge to the base of the climb... THEN we climbed about 1500 more feet.

We climbed and climbed and thought highly of ourselves... until we met a 60 year old couple who where climbing the pass for the second time today (wow). I want to be clear, we did pass them on the way up.

Then it was all (mostly) downhill to Fairplay's (also Southpark) finest ice cream at Cream and Steam where we met these two lookers.

Happy Fourth. And now, some fireworks.

Sent from my LG phone

Location:Fairplay, Co

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Help me fight cancer. Donate Here.

What a day. It started with cows. Then Cycling.

We set out from Walden on a steady climb to Willow Creek Pass. Nice, false flats all the way up to the climb. Not to mention the village of Rand which has the Rand Yacht Club. The highway past Rand has been adopted by the residents of Suburban South Rand. There could not be more than four of them, but that road was clean. Good job residents of Suburban South Rand!

A few miles of steady steep and... An ice cold coke. My brother was hiking in the pass and had strategically stashed the keys. Refueled, Lauren and I bombed down the descent. After 2 hours, with the climb, our pace was still over 20 mph. Awesome!

Then we hit route 40... the wind picked up... In our faces. We pushed and pushed and kept our pace fairly high. We had a minor crisis near Hot Sulphur Springs. Lauren and I both ran out of water at the edge of the town. Fortunately, there was an ice cream stand... But the wait was too long. So we went to a bar, which did not seem indecent as it was past noon.

Rewatered, we pushed on to Kremmling and met my brother who had just gotten kicked out of breakfast, lunch, and bakery. Apparently, bakery only goes until just after 2. Two blocks down and the second ice cream shoppe we found water and... Ice cream. Ahhhhhhh.

Then the wind. It had gotten worse. Or we were worse. After 78 miles the wind was too much for us. We were going about 12 mph... miserable... in pain. I called for backup and we quit near Heeney, Co and the fantabulous green mountain reservoir.

I snuck out for a quick soak in a mountain stream. Very refreshing, but freezing cold. I think it helped.

Met back with the fam and celebrated my parents 34th Anniversary. Congrats guys.... And thank you for all the help.

Regrets.. Yes. Sunscreen. Face, check. Legs, check. Arms, ehh.

Location:Walden, co