Category Archives: Cycling
Last year, I wrote about the cycling season and the events a group of friends and I participated in. This year, we got together at the beginning of the year (again) and mapped out the rides we wanted to do. This time around, however, we were happy to have our wives along for the ride. Thus began yet another epic year!
(Click on the links below to see the associated Garmin data if you’re interested in that type of thing.)
- Elephant Rock (06/05/2011): This was the first big event of the year. I said last year that I wasn’t planning on doing it two years in a row, but it’s a great training goal and a nice “big ride” experience for the girls. The girls rode the metric century version of the ride, and we took a nice even pace with them until the course split. After that, we raced to try and catch them at the last aid station. We didn’t quite make it there in time (they had been waiting for about an hour when we showed up), but we had a great, albeit hot, ride in to the finish together.
- Denver Century Ride (06/12/2011): This ride began at Invesco Field (now Sports Authority Stadium) right by my house in downtown Denver. We again rode a century taking it easy until the course split away from the metric option. It was a nice ride, but we had some criticisms. The route was a bit rough with traffic and the jersey and T-shirt weren’t very attractive (I joked that I was even embarrassed to wear it to bed!) However, they took our feedback seriously and showed up this year with a brand new jersey (one that looks pretty darn good) and a completely re-designed route. I’m already registered for the 2012 version and I can’t wait!
- Mount Evans (07/10/2011): This wasn’t an organized ride, but it was likely the most difficult ride I’ve ever done. The final ride was almost 130 miles and well over 12,000ft. of elevation gain. Mt. Evans is the highest paved road in the US; so high, in fact, that my Garmin stopped being accurate up above around 12,000ft. (it shows our max elevation as around 13,000ft. when it was easily a thousand feet more). We were hailed on and blown all over the place on the climb up, and one of the guys in our group even snapped his rear derailleur right off his bike! (Luckily, we found a car driving down from the mountain with a bike rack that was gracious enough to drive him back into Denver) When we finally finished the ride, I wasn’t sure exactly what to think or say. It was simultaneously the most physically painful and wonderful thing I’ve tried and I can’t wait to do it again!
- Copper Triangle (08/06/2011): This was year two of the outstanding Copper Triangle Ride. This time around, both the fellas I typically ride with got to participate (last year it was just two of us) and we all had a great time! Our three families got a cabin right in the middle of the Copper Mountain Village and we all had a blast just enjoying each other’s company and relaxing before and after the ride. I don’t think we’ll do it again next year (three years in a row is pushing it just a bit), but we’ll definitely be back soon.
- Dear Creek Century (08/21/2011): This event labels itself as the “hardest century ride in the US” Considering how difficult Evans was, I went into this ride thinking I’d be able to skate through it. I was very wrong. My first mistake was riding a fair amount during the week leading up to the event. I put in around 60 miles before even starting the ride. Beyond that, I didn’t hydrate properly and ate very poorly during the week. In short, I didn’t take it seriously at all and it definitely cost me. After about 50 miles, I started feeling sluggish. After the finish, I got pretty sick and got home to see I had dropped about 10 pounds of water weight during the ride. Not good. I’m not sure if I’m going to do this ride again, but if I do I will definitely take it seriously.
- Tour de Fat (09/10/2011): This year, I rode a B-Cycle while Amber pulled Ryker in the Chariot. It was just the three of us this year, but we had a great time and enjoyed ourselves (as usual). The tradition of cycling with at least 1000 other folks in a giant parade topped off with a beer or two after the ride is something I look forward to every year.
- Other Rides: Alongside the rides here, the girls did the Venus de Miles ride while the boys volunteered. Beyond that, there were numerous rides in Golden, Boulder (Jamestown, Sugarloaf, Flagstaff, Nederland), Colorado Springs, Castle Rock, Monument, Lyons (Oscar Blues is a fantastic destination), and the list goes on. I also had a great time riding with my beautiful wife multiple times during the year including climbing Lookout Mountain, riding to Golden and just getting coffee in the early spring. Often, riding is about enjoying the scenery and talking with interesting people and she’s definitely the most interesting person I know.
I’m not sure we can seriously top 2011 and I’m not looking to try, really. So, here’s to 2011 and having fun, doing hard stuff, drinking good beer and making worthwhile relationships even more so. 2012, you have some big shoes to fill!
In early March, I purchased a brand new Specialized Roubaix in anticipation of an epic cycling season. I wasn’t disappointed. Between the beginning of March and the 7th of November (roughly what I consider to be the cycling season here in Colorado), I put in over 3500 miles on the Roubaix and close to 4000 miles total (I have a mountain bike as well).
At the beginning of 2010, I got together with a couple of my best friends and we mapped out the organized event rides we wanted to do for the season. There are a lot of these types of events all over the place, and it was a challenge to narrow it all down. Here are the ones we chose and my thoughts:
Elephant Rock (06/06/2010): This ride is commonly known as the kickoff of the summer riding season. It has been around for a long time and has a lot of distance options for various skill levels. I rode the century option which includes close to 6,000 feet of climbing.
The course started and ended in Castle Rock traveling in a loop including a dip into Monument. There were ample rest stops along with the way and, despite some wind, was a reasonably great kickoff to the season. On the downside, the food wasn’t so great and, because of the sheer volume of riders on the course, there were times when congestion was a real issue. I’ve decided to ride it again next year as it helps set an early season fitness goal, but there were better rides this year no question.
- Bike MS 150 (06/26/2010-06/27/210): This was a two day event. We rode from Westminster to Fort Collins, stayed the night, and then rode back the second day. Both days were roughly 75 miles leading to a grand total of 150 combined miles over the weekend. There is also a century option on the second day for people who want to ride a little farther.
The ride itself was beautiful and relatively easy, with only about 1,500 feet of climbing over Horse-tooth Reservoir. We averaged close to 20mph on the way up. The food was outstanding and the volunteers were extremely fun and helpful. I’d definitely do this ride again except that the price of admission has gotten relatively high. Each participant is expected to raise $400 minimum to ride, and I ended paying the majority of that out of pocket. If you’re one of those people who love asking for money, then this ride is definitely for you.
- Sunrise Century (07/24/2010): This ride was a 100 mile (with 7,000 foot elevation gain) loop from Boulder into Lyons, over to Nederland on the Peak to Peak, and back down into Boulder via Left Hand Canyon. This loop and its variants are extremely popular due to some challenging climbing and incredible scenery. It was likely the hardest ride of the year for us.
The ride, however, isn’t something I’ll likely do again. I spent a lot of time on the Peak to Peak this year before and after the event, and didn’t really feel as though it was worth paying for the organized version. The food wasn’t great and the ride felt disjointed. If you feel like riding this course (and you really should; it’s a great course) I recommend doing it on your own.
- Copper Triangle (08/07/2010): This was, hands down, the best ride of the year. The organization was outstanding, the food excellent, and the course incredible. There were the perfect number of people on the road and just about everyone was nice and courteous. We stayed the night before and woke up to one of the best days I’ve ever had on a bicycle. I’m most definitely going to be doing this ride again next year!
- Tour de Fat (09/11/2010): This was a great family ride from our house to City Park and back. The total distance was about 35 miles. We took the family and kids along and had a great time listening to music and drinking some outstanding beer. The crowd there is always lively, and everyone is expected to be in costume (we dressed up as Mormons :)
Next year, I plan on doing Elephant Rock, the Denver Century, Deer Creek, the Copper Triangle, the Crooked Roubaix, and the Tour de Fat (of course). Also, probably the most exciting thing for me in 2011 is the inclusion of my wife on at least a few of those rides along with the weekly group rides.
2011 is going to be quite epic … I can’t wait!
I originally posted this in July of 2006. Since then, my mileage has increased to about 100 miles a week. However, I feel just as “treme” as I did back then and thought it would be funny to re-post this here … enjoy!
This is the second blog dealing with the sport of extreme (or simply treme) bicycling. In this blog, I’d like to cover a few areas of proper etiquette when riding on semi-crowded trails or when riding with a partner.
It occurs to me that I am probably the most treme (which, by the way, is the term describing a mediocre version of extreme) bicycler I know. Let me clarify that.
- While extreme bikers put in 70 to 100 miles a week on their bike, us treme bikers put in about 40 to 50.
- While extreme bikers have a whole assortment of serious injuries related to biking, we tremers have only to worry about hitting your hand on a metal sign post during a ride (which happened to me last week, by the way).
- While extreme bikers talk about forks and the best brand of gears to use, treme bikers talk about the best deal they can get for a brand they recognize (such as Trek, Giant, or even Huffy) and call it good.
- While extreme bikers actually get sponsored by companies to wear their logos on their riding clothes, we tremers buy riding gear with said logos to look as though we are sponsored.
Most bikers on trails around town are more in the treme category than the extreme category, which is good because its easy to relate to treme riders theyre all very similar.
Here are a few rules in dealing with fellow treme riders:
- Every treme rider dreams of being an extreme rider. It’s true: we tremers actually wish that we were Lance Armstrong. We daydream about riding hundreds of miles to glory, fame, and Sheryl Crow. We also have a tendency to talk up our riding mileage a bit when talking to other tremers. Typical conversation:
“I ride about 40 miles a week.” “Well I ride about 45 miles a week.” “You should have seen me last summer! I was putting in 50 miles a week!” etc.
- When passing another rider on a trial, you are obligated to respond; and that response should be proportional to the treme level of the other biker. When you pass another biker, you must quickly size them up. If they look more like Lance Armstrong than you, you are obligated to at least raise a finger to signify your submission to their obviously greater level of closer-to-extremeness than yours. However, if they look more like the fat kid getting his first Huffy at Sams, you are only obligated to look in their direction.
- You must be faster than all bikers less treme than you. Put simply, this means that if an older biker, significantly younger biker, a biker with an inferior bike, or any combination thereof passes you on a trail, you suck. You must be constantly aware of your environment and keep that from happening. If it does happen, you can cover for it by reaching down to your water bottle and pretend you were taking it easy for the moment they passed you. However, this only works if you then pass said biker and continue to stay ahead of him / her for the duration of your time together on the same trail.
- When riding in any size group, make sure you let everyone know youre taking it easy for the day. This works very well if you place an extreme sounding story in front of your statement. For example, “Man, yesterdays [exaggerated mileage] ride really worked me. I think Im going to take it easy today.” This actually does two things for you:
- If you have trouble keeping up with your riding buddies, you have effectively covered your butt. Everyone expected it anyway.
- If you end up having a good day and leading the pack, you have demonstrated that your level of extremeness is much higher than theirs because, even taking it easy, you’ve outperformed them.
That’s it for this blog. Hopefully, your social biking skills have benefitted in some way from the aforementioned ramblings!