Tuesday, September 29, 2009

men's weekend

No time on the bike this weekend. I drove a few hours into Missouri to Lightfoot Park on Pom de Terre Lake to spend some time with some buddies. Brad and I worked together several years ago, and though we don't get to see each other often, we've remained friends.

About 8 years ago Brad invited me to men's weekend. Several guys who had been camping and skiing with their families thought it would be fun to have one weekend a year for just "the guys". So, in the early 90's they started heading to the lake on the last weekend in September.

Brothers, brothers-in-law, friends from college, and a few others get together to ski, golf, sit around the fire, play some games and give each other a hard time. Some years there's a canoe or a sailboat. Some years we set up a volleyball net. We always stay up late, enjoy catching up and laughing at each other, and our selves. It's just a couple days, but there's time to read, nap, and just hangout, and it's a pretty nice place to do it.

Four of us drove around the lake on Saturday to a little golf course on rolling hills that overlooks the lake on a hole or two. We were pushing it a little to get 18 holes in before it was too dark, but a golf course is such a beautiful place to be as the sun goes behind the trees and adds some color to the clouds in the sky.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


CRMBT announced it's route for 2010 earlier this week. Sounds like a great way to spend the first week of August. The route is a loop starting and ending in Edwards, CO, just west of Vail on I-70. Over Battle Mountain Summit and Tennessee Pass through Leadville, crossing Fremont Pass on the way to Frisco.

Then around Dillon Lake and over Swan Mountain to Keystone before climbing Loveland Pass on the way to Idaho Springs. Loveland reaches 11,990 feet, but the day's ride is only about 50 miles. That's good, because you'll want to save a little for what comes next! From Idaho Springs the route takes you 14 miles up to Echo Lake.

From there, you can head east over Squaw Pass, and eventually down Lookout Mountain into Golden. Or, if you have an itch you need to scratch, you can pay your $3 and head up Mount Evans Road. Highway 5 is the highest paved road in the US, rising from just over 10,000 feet at Echo Lake, to over 14,200 feet at the summit.

When I went to Colorado in June for BTC, I entertained the idea of riding up Mount Evans on my own. But, it was too much. Too cold, too high, too steep, too early in the season. It was an experience just to drive to the top, but I couldn't help but think that I'd like to have someone with me, if for nothing else, than to point to where I went off the road for the search and rescue team. But if it was August, a little warmer, and there were other riders on the road with me....

Anyway, from Echo Lake on will all be new territory for me, on a bike or in a car. From Golden the route follows the Peak-to-Peak Highway to Estes Park for a rest day. Then it's through the Rocky Mountain National Park on Trail Ridge Road. I found this picture on cyclepass.com:


The highest point on Trail Ridge Road is 12,183 feet, and you're above 11,000 feet for over 8 miles!

The last day is a little flatter, a little longer, with a 102 mile century ride to get back to Edwards.

This looks like another fantastic route. I'm especially pleased that some of the tough climbs come on days without brutal mileage. I know I'll have to train hard to be ready for this, but that's one of the advantages to an August tour, you have more of the summer to ride in preparation. I might need to look into a better headlight too, because if I want to make it from Idaho Springs to the top of Mount Evans and be headed down before the afternoon showers move in, I'll need to make that one an early start.

I'm not a fast rider, but the altitude hasn't affected me, and I've been able to climb all the climbs that CRMBT has put in front of me. I would like to be able to climb a little faster. If anyone has any training tips that I can use over the winter on the trainer, or next spring back on the bike, I'm open to suggestions.

Monday, September 14, 2009

stage 7

I spent Sunday afternoon walking around Crown Center (home of Hallmark), Penn Valley Park, Liberty Memorial and Washington Square Park taking pictures of the 7th and final stage of the 2009 Tour of Missouri. I was able to see a lot of my favorite riders and take lots of pictures. My favorite part of the afternoon might have been before the race even started.

No, not the LiquiGas girls.
It was seeing Paul Sherwen up close, visiting with the fans and posing for a few pictures.

Watching the riders ride up and down the avenue, warming up prior to the start of the race.

Here, George and a couple teammates from Columbia HTC have an impromptu team meeting.

The course was a little over 10 miles, and they did the loop 7 times. I walked down to where they would be at the end of each loop, which were taking about 25 minutes, and took some pictures with the Western Auto Building in the background.

I hooked around behind Union Station to the west side of Penn Valley Park and saw the race head toward the north end of downtown, Riverfront Park, Sprint Center, and the Power & Light District before heading back to Crown Center.

I then hiked up the hill into the park to wait for them to complete the loop and come through the park for the 3rd time. You can see the peloton in the foreground and Liberty Memorial and Union Station in the background.

I made my way back to the finish line with most of the other spectators. Unable to get close the barricade to have a shot at a good picture, I settled for ringing my cowbell and cheering the riders across the line.
Zabriske held on for the overall victory and made his way back to the podium. He pulled in to this area, thinking it led to the podium. When informed he still had a short way to go he looked right at me with a sheepish grin on his face before re-mounting his bike and heading off to his prize.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

individual time-trial

I drove about an hour and a half to Sedalia, MO on Friday for the time-trial stage of the Tour of Missouri. The start and finish lines were on the state fairgrounds with lots of great vantage points for seeing the riders up close. It might seem obvious, but these guys are good. These are only about a quarter of the pictures I snapped. Many were blurs, or shots of the road where a rider just was. The first four are of riders coming out of the starting blocks and preparing for a 90 degree left turn.

I'm not sure if he's adjusting his helmet, or saying to himself, "what the hell was I thinking?"

I took several pictures as riders rounded the last corner of the 19 mile+ course and raced for the finish line. Then I moved down to, and eventually around the last corner and got shots of riders coming to the last turn. Again, these guys are fast! I love my Canon PowerShot camera. It's small enough to carry on the bike, and it takes pretty good pictures of scenery. But, I could have used a camera that would let me snap several frames in rapid succession to capture the action here. Still, I was able to come away with some shots of a few of my favorite riders.

Here's one of Floyd Landis, riding for Ouch Presented By Maxxis. He was quoted as saying it's good to just be racing again. On his bike is where he's happy.

David Zabriske of Garmin Slipstream claimed the yellow jersey by winning the time-trial with a time of 36:30. He was 30 seconds faster than the 2nd place time posted by Gustav Larsson of Team Saxo Bank. Zabriskie put enough time between himself and the sprinters who had dominated the early stages of the race that he will wear the yellow jersey as the tour comes to Kansas City for the 7th and final stage on Sunday.

As I sat near the last turn, I got these shots of Levi Leipheimer coming and going.

And finally, after he had crossed the finish line, I got this picture of George Hincapie.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

what's happening in missouri

If you're interested in pro racing, Gene from Biking Bis, has added some links and info. on where to check in on the Tour of Missouri.
You can also click on the Tour of Missouri Stage 7 map to the right to see the last couple hours of each days action streaming live, plus a bunch of other stuff on the tour. I'll add my pictures later in the week.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

tour of missouri

The Tour of Missouri 2009 starts on Monday, Labor Day, with a 75 mile circuit ride in St. Louis. On Tuesday the race moves to a route from Ste. Genevieve to Cape Girardeau in the southeastern part of the state. On Wednesday, stage 3 runs from Farmington to Rolla. Thursday's stage 4 starts in St. James and ends in Missouri's capital, Jefferson City. Then on Friday it really gets interesting. For me, anyway. The last two years I haven't been able to see any of this race, even though Kansas City has hosted a stage. This year things will be different.

For the first time Kansas City will host the finish of the Tour of Missouri, and I plan on being there. But why stop at one stage? I always believed that if a little is good, a lot is better. So, with that in mind I looked at the last 3 stages, and they are all within a couple hours of where I reside. On Friday, September 11, stage 5 is an individual time-trial, held at the home of the Missouri State Fair, Sedalia. If I leave work a little early I'll be able to see more than half the riders cross the finish line. That's just the kind of sacrifice I'm willing to make. I don't collect autographs, and I've always hated the idea of bugging famous people when I'm near them. But, I've got to take my old Discovery Team jersey, and a sharpie, and try to get it signed by one of my favorite riders, George Hincapie.

Saturday's stage 6 is a route from Chillicothe to St. Joseph. Again, the end of the stage is less than a couple hours away, and I'm planning on being there to take pictures. Maybe I can catch the blur that is Mark Cavendish as he sprints toward the finish line. Then on Sunday, the 7th and final stage is close to home in Kansas City, MO. The route will start at the Power and Light District downtown and take riders past the Sprint Center, along the Missouri River in Riverfront Park, past Westport and Union Station, and finish at Crown Center. Promoters promise "countless technical corners and short steep hills" await the riders on this final stage.

I'm really looking forward to seeing these guys in action. It won't be the Pyrenees, but being there live will be a thrill. I promise not to run alongside the riders while wearing a thong, waving a flag, and screaming at the top of my lungs. At least not all at once. Finally, this year's Colorado Rocky Mountain Bike jersey, modeled here by my brother-in-law, Bruce, is covered in red C's with yellow centers, like the state flag. And one day riding up a mountain behind another rider I realized that from far enough back they make it look like the polka-dot jersey that the king-of-the-mountains leader wears in the Tour de France. For a fleeting moment I caught a glimpse of what it might be like to ride in the Alps and Pyrenees. And, as I never caught the polka-dot jersey, it was probably achingly realistic.