Sunday, December 26, 2010

hope it was a good one!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends. I was lucky enough to receive several cycling-related gifts. Spokelit lights for my wheels and a long-sleeve Pearl Izumi jersey are two less excuses for not getting out and riding when it's cold.
And I got the DVD of Race Across The Sky. I hadn't seen the movie yet and was really intrigued. Though I'm not much of a mountain biker, my Colorado bike tours have taken me through Leadville on a bike about half a dozen times. And I've driven there several times and been around Turquoise Lake, so I'm familiar with part of the course for the Leadville Trail 100. And the first time I ever heard of the race I just happened to be in Leadville that evening on my way back to Frisco, and saw riders crossing the finish line in just under 12 hours. I learned later that the year prior Dave Wiens of Gunnison, CO,  had defeated Floyd Landis to win his 4th straight LT100. And the next year he would beat Lance Armstrong for his 6th straight win. Of course the movie is filmed the year after that, with Lance returning to win this race, with Wiens coming in second. The scenery is amazing, and it's a little emotional to watch riders finish 5 hours after Lance, but still under the 12 hour time required to earn the belt buckle. These men and women were obviously tired, cold, hurting, and so proud of what they just accomplished. A good story that anyone would enjoy watching, and a must-see for cyclists.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

ready to roll

I'm longing for an adventure. Over the years I've been lucky enough to see some pretty cool places. We got to go to Hawaii several years ago. My wife had a conference in Honolulu. On the last night they had a buffet in the park right on Waikiki beach, and the entertainment was Kenny Loggins. The we flew to Kauai for a few days and took a helicopter ride along Na Pali coast. It was a spectacular place that I've long dreamed of returning to, maybe hiking along the cliffs and camping in paradise.

We've vacationed in some great cities, and driven through several states. Any time I'm near the ocean is special, and driving from San Francisco down the Pacific Coast Highway to Cambria was as good as it gets. I would love to get back and spend some time at Big Sur. Another place I'd like to see again is the Grand Canyon. I saw it from the rim on a trip with my family when I was in high school. But I got to see it up close when I spent a week on the river and hiked out on Bright Angel trail. I would love to go back, hike into the canyon and explore.

One evening I was reading an old Outdoors magazine with an article about adventures you should have in your life. One of them was a Colorado River trip through the Grand Canyon. There was a picture from above the Nankoweap campsites. I walked down the hall and found a photo I had taken and showed my wife the two side by side. I had been there!
Borrowed from Pike's Peak River Runners.

Lately all my adventures have been the two-wheeled kind. I have loved riding through South Dakota, Kansas, and most of all Colorado. I love the speed of bicycle touring; seeing things you would miss in a car. And I love that you have to work hard to get the payoff of seeing the summit of a mountain pass. I don't know what my next adventure will be, but it can't come soon enough.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

wanna ride (let it snow)

Though the weather outside is rotten
Good rides are not forgotten
Can’t wait to get back outside
Wanna ride, wanna ride, wanna ride

I’m throwing coins into fountains
Wishing to return to the mountains
Over alpine roads I’ll glide
Wanna ride, wanna ride, wanna ride

In the meantime I’ll have to train
But outside it’s so hard to stay warm
And the rollers are such a pain
It’s hard to get back into form

As the bright winter suns are shining
For the mountains I’ll be pining
And for roads paved smooth and wide
Wanna ride, wanna ride, wanna ride

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

colorado scenic byways

I've fallen in love with Colorado over the last few years. Cycling over some of the most beautiful routes you can imagine have given me a whole new appreciation for the mountains, the valleys, the rivers and high deserts. The state is home to 11 nationally designated byways, and 14 scenic and historic byways recognized by Colorado for their historic, cultural and scenic value. Between a turn on the Bicycle Tour of Colorado, and three wonderful tours with CRMBT, I have had the pleasure of riding parts of eleven of these byways.
From the West Elk Loop to the San Juan Skyway,  the Top of the Rockies to the Collegiate Peaks, Mount Evans Road, Peak-to-Peak Highway, and Trail Ridge Road have all given me some of the most wonderful days on a bike that I could have possibly imagined. When the idea of going to CO to ride a tour was first suggested by my brother-in-law I thought it was beyond my capabilities. But, I've learned that with preparation, determination, and persistence, I can do more than I thought possible.
In my mind a tour through the mountains is not a race, unless that is against the weather. I ride as good a pace as I can, stop to rest when needed, and go slow enough to take lots of pictures and enjoy the grandeur around me. I think everyone should add Colorado to their list of places to visit. A drive to the top of Mt Evans, through Rocky Mountain National Park, or over the Million Dollar Highway would offer views you would never forget. But if you really want to see it close up......bring your bike!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

tour de kota 2011

The Tour de Kota announced their route for 2011 recently. Their website is largely under construction as of now, but the mapped route and overnight towns are available.
I like the fact that it's a loop; no logistical concerns getting your car to the finish and your bike and yourself to the start. I also like the that next year's tour has a theme; Class is in Session. What's being called the College Campus Cruise will overnight at several area schools including Augustana College, the University of Sioux Falls, Dakota State University, the University of South Dakota, and South Dakota State University. For a small fee riders will be able to reserve dorm rooms for overnight stays in the college towns.

On my two previous TdKs I visited all of the host towns except for Madison, and though we rode through Vermillion it wasn't an overnight stay back in 2006. It would be fun to visit the campuses of these colleges, and though Freeman is not a college town, I remember how friendly the people were in welcoming riders to their town. The Tour de Kota 2011 runs from Sunday to Friday, June 5-10, and covers 430 miles through the rolling hills of eastern South Dakota.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

hug a veteran

When he was 16 he joined the CCC. When I was 16 I was trying to grow my hair as long as I could.
When I was 23 I was trying to "find myself". When he was 23 he found himself on the beach at Normandy. I don't think I'll ever be as much of a man as my Dad. But, he gave me a great example of what it means to be a man. If I even come close, that's pretty good.
Happy Veterans Day and Thank You to my Dad, and all veterans!

Monday, November 8, 2010

quiznos pro challenge update

In my last post, I wrote: " The next stage is from Gunnison to Aspen. If it goes through the Black Canyon, it will feature some of the best scenery ever featured in professional cycling. And McClure Pass is a short steep climb before a pretty ride into Aspen."
I've read some comments from those apparently in the know in Colorado that suggests instead of the charming Black Canyon, McClure pass route to Aspen, the race may go in a whole other direction. If they are correct the Quiznos Pro Challenge would go north out of Gunnison towards Crested Butte again, only this time turning at Almont and riding up to the Taylor Park Reservoir. Then they would head up the UN-PAVED side of Cottonwood Pass.
Which would lead to an incredible descent down to Buena Vista. (I suggest riders stop for a musette at K's Dairy-Delite) Then it's up US 24 along the Collegiate Peaks, west on CO 82, up over Independence Pass, followed by a fast technical descent into Aspen.

If this indeed is the route, this stage will be more than 130 miles and feature two climbs to more than 12,000 feet! One on dirt! Epic.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

quiznos pro challenge

I read over at Biking Bis that the host cities have been announced for next year's inaugural Quiznos Pro Challenge bike race. Denver based Quiznos picked up the ball dropped when government officials in Missouri failed to commit to support for the Tour of Missouri. Lance Armstrong got involved and Colorado's governor joined him....and here we go! The 560 mile race, next August 22-28, will begin with a prologue time-trial in Colorado Springs. They haven't laid out the exact route, but I'm guessing it will be.....spectacular!
The first stage will go from Salida to a mountain finish outside of Crested Butte. Monarch Pass will be a great first test to separate the climbers from the rest of the peloton. The ride into Crested Butte is very scenic, with the mountains just inviting you to come and play.
The next stage is from Gunnison to Aspen. If it goes through the Black Canyon, it will feature some of the best scenery ever featured in professional cycling. And McClure Pass is a short steep climb before a pretty ride into Aspen.
The next stage is a time-trial in Vail. I don't think of Vail as being a very large area, so I don't know where they would ride, but I know that the whole area is beautiful.
Next, the riders will head from Avon, just to the west of Vail, north to Steamboat Springs. I've not ridden in this area before, except for the stretch on CO-131 that brought us back to Edwards from Granby on the final day of this year's CRMBT.
The next stage will take riders from Steamboat Springs to Breckenridge. I think the whole area around Frisco and Breckenridge is one of the nicest places in Colorado.
And finally, the tour will conclude with a stage from Golden to Denver. Wherever the route takes riders through the streets of Denver, the mountains will be visible to the west, a reminder of the grueling week they've had, and waiting to welcome them back again.

If you've thought about riding in Colorado, watching this will give you a great idea of how spectacular it can be. And if you ride like I do, you'll have much more time to soak it all in than these guys will.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

colorado, we have a problem

Hi! I'm Jeff, and I'm a Colorado-holic. I'm addicted to cycling in the mountains. Now, I love cycling anywhere, and I've had great times doing multi-day tours in South Dakota and Kansas. I know I would enjoy doing a tour in any state, and I know that there are scenic rides in Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada. But I have a Colorado monkey on my back. I blame CRMBT.
I know I'm going to be begging my wife to let me go just once more. I can stop any time I want. I just need a fix right now. I'll probably be on the street, selling old bike jerseys and doing favors for tour organizers.
Some would say that cold turkey is the only way to beat an addiction like this. But I think it would be safer to give it up a little at a time. Maybe a shorter tour or two, followed by a few single day events. Maybe ride away from the mountains over the high plains on my way back to Kansas.
If you see or hear about someone riding around Kansas with a Colorado patch on his arm, that would be me.

Monday, October 25, 2010


The first multi-day bike tour I did was the Tour de Kota around the eastern half of South Dakota. When my brother-in-law, Bruce, started talking about going to Colorado to do a tour, I was intrigued. Kind of the way I feel as the roller-coaster slowly climbs that first section; scared, but pretty sure it'll be fun. We tried unsucessfully to get into Ride the Rockies, and were lucky enough to discover the Colorado Rocky Mountain Bike Tour. CRMBT had it's inaugural running in August of 2007. So, late in the summer of '08 we headed for Gunnison, and had the hardest, best week on a bike you can imagine. We got a couple buddies to join us in Montrose to start the '09 tour. And this August I went on my own to kick off CRMBT 2010 in Edwards, CO. I owe a debt of gratitude to the organizers and volunteers who make this tour so special. Thanks to them I've come to think of Colorado as a part of me. I've experienced:

C     Cerro Summit, Coal Bank Pass, and every mile of the Copper Triangle
R     Redstone and Red Mountain Pass
M     Monarch Pass, Molas Pass, McClure Pass and Mount Evans
B     Black Canyon and Battle Hill Summit
T     Tennessee Pass and Trail Ridge Road
Thanks! Let's do it again!