Friday, December 21, 2007

Extreme Winter Biking

So I've done a few winter rides. It's cold, sure, but it's fun. I've never had a strong to desire to get out in the cold and do any kind of extreme riding. Everything I did was limited to short >10 mile rides.

But after running across Jill's adventures as documented on NPR's site I started considering it a little more seriously.

Wouldn't it be cool, after we conquer the CT or the GDT that we go out and do a short 100 mile winter ride?

Regardless of your biking ambitions, her blog is well worth checking out. She documents all her training as she prepares for the Iditabike - a 350 mile tour following the Iditarod trail. In Alaska. In February.

This woman is all kinds of hard-core!

Jill also posted a few links to some '80's style documentaries about an Iditabike race back in the day.

For your viewing pleasure I'm embedding them below.

Part one:

Part two:

Part three:

Crazy thing - they did this on old-school skinny tires!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

OPEC Can Keep Their Oil

Ok, with the exception of no helmet and the fact I don't drink beer, I really like this ad.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Catching On

It was really interesting to see how exercise has transformed the women in Caren's family. I watched as woman after woman lost weight, ran 5k's and 10k's. Women who'd never run much more than a mile - and that was back in high school - women who didn't have treadmills or jogging strollers who, in order to get their miles in, would jog up and down their driveway because they couldn't leave their kids at home alone. I watched as everyone of them cut their calories and began to eat healthier and subsequently lost pound after pound.

I watch how person after person comes up to Caren to tell her how good she looks she responds with what a difference exercise and a proper diet has made.

And now that I'm striving toward a goal to exercise for 60@5 and to, at least, overcome inconsistency, I'm starting to see others catch on. Now both Mike and Mom are working toward a 60 day goal with me (thanks guys!!). I even had a woman in our neighborhood tell me that she's now been out for 2 weeks straight and feels it's made all the difference in the world to her.

Rock on for the power of good influences - and thanks, Caren for getting me going!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Late Night Procrastination

So...I still need to go exercise. I had all day today to exercise, but have put it off. However, as I continue working toward this 60 day goal with Andrew, I am procrastinating less and less. Part of it stems from exercising in the basement with my Gazelle. Concrete walls, squeaky Gazelle...Enough said.

Luckily the Gazelle days will be more limited. Jenny and I purchased a Treadmill tonight for our Christmas present. And probably birthday and next Christmas too. Serendipity was my friend tonight though. We had hit a "Sale" where it was $400 off the normal MSRP. I take those suggested prices with a grain of salt. I figured we were getting an OK deal. Well just before I checked out, the guy behind me tapped me on the shoulder and said I should try using the 25% off coupon for friends and family. The sales lady said, "Well, you can be my friend." and promptly knocked another 200 off of the sales price. If I would have had the presence of mind, I would have bought the guys stuff for him as he just saved me a bucketload of cash! For future reference, check out, or and search your favorite store to see if they have any additional sales deals.

Now why is this going on the Epic Ride blog? I guess it is for two reasons: 1. The ER seems to be focused on exercise right now in preparation for the "Ride." (I would like to have more than one "Ride" maybe it should end in an 's'. No that doesn't sound good, nevermind) This is another tool for me to continue to get fit. I think if I spent the entire winter using that gazelle, I would be a little less sane come spring. 2. I just forgot reason 2, but it was a good one. Oh I guess it helps add value to me about how 'Epic' this ride is going to be. Lots of preparation, lots of focus.

Well enough procrastination. Time to hit the Gazelle.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Okay, this whole consistency thing is now a real thorn in my side. I'm only 12 days into my 60 (48 to go!) and I'm already starting to feel like I'm hitting a wall. I really hope that I can get into a groove and forcing myself to exercise will turn into looking forward to exercise.

I ran on Saturday. It was only a half-hour and a little under 3 miles, but my shins are still griping loudly at me for abusing them. (Caren thinks I should have spent more time on asphalt and less on sidewalk - but asphalt is pretty hard too, right?)

Monday I could hardly stand the idea of getting on the treadmill - regardless of my fancy new shoes. Caren encouraged me to walk instead of run and I was only able to make it for about 10 minutes before my shins decided they'd had enough and it was time to go on holiday.

This week and the week of Christmas I anticipate to be my biggest challenges. Why on earth would you want to get out and exercise when there's food to be eaten and laziness to be indulged in?

Mostly because I want a stinkin' Rockhopper, that's why.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


In the last several years I've discovered a serious character flaw. I've observed it in some of my relatives and have often wondered if it hereditary or a product of my upbringing (no offense guys - just an observation). Regardless of where this flaw originates I have discovered I have a serious problem with consistency.

It often manifests itself in two forms: 1) inability to remain constant in a repetitive task (scripture study, exercise, money management, etc) and 2) a perpetual desire to experience something new (often manifested by a desire to try new food, become restless in a job, try to learn a new skill that I'll never succeed in, etc.). I've never considered the two related, but it makes sense that they stem from the same character flaw: inconsistency.

Caren, however, has the most consistent person on the planet and has been a major force in helping me overcome my flaw in a number of areas.

My inability to remain consistent has recently rendered my exercise efforts completely useless. One or two days a week - then a two week hiatus isn't exactly a catalyst for real change. With exercise I find it difficult to remain driven for results - mostly because my brief forays have never produced any real change and I find it easy to lose desire.

Well, I'm out to change that - at least in the exercise realm - once and for all. Caren is again aiding me in my quest to become consistent. She and I struck a deal last night: if I can exercise five days a week for eight weeks we will set aside money for a new bike.

If I miss one day, I have to start over. So it's in my best interest to make sure I do this right the first time.

Granted I'm only on Day Two of my 60 day quest, but I have high hopes. After all, I'm highly motivated - for now.

Friday, November 2, 2007


Today I made several small sqeaks, er steps toward our Ride next year. It sure doesn't feel like much working out in the basement on a squeaky gazelle, but it is a step in the right direction. I think it would be good to have a section where we can log our exercise/training. I know if I saw others posting their training, it would motivate me a little more. After all..."When Performance is measured, performance improves. But when performance is measured and reported, performance improves dramatically." I posted a sidebar with a list feature. It seems somewhat lacking, but I can't think of anything else at the moment. Any thoughts? Have you seen any HTML Gadgets that can be put on the side?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Colorado's Multiday Mountain Bike Tours

I ran across an article by Ted Stedman written for that outlined a number of good multi-day rides. Below are a few excepts from his article.

It's no secret that Colorado harbors some of the premier mountain bike tours on the planet. But what else would you expect in a state where thousands of miles of trails and dirt roads crisscross the high country other than premium rides?

Consider it bike packing - like a hybrid cross between backpacking and mountain biking - where a tent is your mobile shelter, all your provisions are carried on panniers or an off-road bike trailer, and your bike is a vehicle for discovery.

I love that term, "bike packing."


The San Juan Hut System's 206-mile Telluride to Moab tour transports riders from Colorado's cool alpine mountain tops to the fiery deserts and redrock canyons of Utah's Moab. This route retraces the getaway route of gunslinger Butch Cassidy's gang after they robbed a Telluride bank in 1889.

There's something to this next one. We ought to look into it a bit more.


The first challenge of the Tabeguache Trail is to pronounce it (say "tab-a-watch"). The second is to resist the temptation to turn around and repeat the 144-mile ride that many riders swear is the archetype of western Colorado bike routes.

Coursing across valleys, mesas, pinion-juniper forests and remote BLM range lands, the Tabeguache is a snippet of classic Colorado. The trail got its start in 1988, when a fledgling group of resource-savvy mountain bikers calling themselves the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Association (COPMOBA) dedicated the elbow grease to create a contiguous link between Montrose and Grand Junction. By connecting existing dirt roads and ATV trails with 11 miles of newly built singletrack, the Tabeguache was born.

The Mother Trail.


Hikers have the Appalachian and Pacific Crest trails, fabled long-distance routes that are trophies for intrepid trekkers. Since its completion in 1997, the GDMBR offers mountain bikers a two-wheeled version of the same prize.

The 2,465-mile GDMBR is the unsurpassed monarch of mountain bike trails, the longest designated off-route route in the world...


Cutting a swath across the Rocky Mountains from Denver to Durango, the 471-mile CT is a wild, daunting, epic undertaking for mountain bike touring. And it's probably the most scenic - and technical - multi-day ride offered in the southern Rockies.

Seven national forests, six wilderness areas, eight mountain ranges and five major river systems are traversed by the CT, a trail that owes its existence to volunteers and leaders who envisioned a recreational corridor linking existing trails with numerous access points.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Bike Maintenance

As I had an extra day off This weekend, I decided to get our bike fleet back in working order. I had a blowout of my tire back in the summer, and hadn't had the funds to get a new set of tires. They were due as they were over 10 years old. So I patched tires on D2's bike, my wife's bike, and D1's bike. Then D2's tire sprang another leak. I patched that only to find out that Jenny's had sprung yet another leak. Her rear tire has blown (split-down-the-side-of-the-tube blown) out 2 tubes. I went down to the bike store and purchased some rim tape even though it didn't need any that I could see. After putting the tire back on, and replacing both of my tires, the weekend was over. And now both my bike and my wife's have issues. Her rear tire is wobbly and needs to have the spokes adjusted. My derailers need to have the cable's replaced. Ugh. It is a lot of work to keep your family's fleet running!

We recently had our Aunt and Uncle and my cousin over for dinner. His dad is always finding deals on bikes and just found him a newer model full suspension that he sold to my cousin for $100. It is a Trek something or other. Good deal. I will keep my eyes pealed for deals like that.

While in the bike store, I asked to see some of the latest model bikes. There were two types of bikes that I found pretty wild. Cannondale has a bike called the "Lefty" that I am rather partial to just for its name. The other type of bike I saw had 29" wheels which help with shock absorption. While these were both out of my price range, I thought they looked pretty cool.
The other interesting thing I found out at the bike shop was a tire that Specialize makes that is near puncture proof. I bought a couple of the $26 variety. The sidewalls were not puncture proof. For $55 a tire, you can have the puncture proof version. For my model, there is a wide strip of Kevlar that is embedded in the tire. I think this is a pretty cool idea. For the ER (Epic Ride), my bike will definitely be sporting a couple of these tires. All the benefits of the foam tires, but none of the weight!

Well that is all for now. I wish I could have said that I even went riding this weekend. I will have to wait for the snow to melt.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Wadsworth Singletrack

Wow - Singletrack heaven on Saturday. At the top of the right fork of Hobble Creek Canyon there's a little trail called Wadsworth. It's only about 7 miles, but MAN, beautiful!

I didn't have tons of time to go much further than a few miles, but the ride was gorgeous. A topo map was a helpful way of getting an idea of where the trail leads to. I'd suggest we pick up one during these initial planning stages.

Average Speed: 5 mph
Total Distance: 3 miles

Friday, October 12, 2007

Realizations from a Weekend Ride

On Saturday last I hit the road for a little ride. As I've noted before, I ride an aluminum Rockhopper with broken shocks. I also had just pumped up my tires to 60psi. I stayed on the road the entire time and realized that there's a reason my bike came with shocks.

After a half hour my hands were asleep - and my teeth quite rattled. I've GOT to get some shocks.

Another realization, we've got to make sure that if we do decide to do a trail around Craig/Steamboat Springs, that we dress and plan accordingly. This came after I rode in the 35° rain for the last half hour. Awesome times.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Colorado trails

Good Colorado trail resource

Hoppin' Rocks or Jumpin' Stumps?

I took a trip to the bike store on Saturday. It was a lot of fun - just Calise and I went. She was very interested in getting a new bike for herself, bless her... :)

After talking to the salesman I can understand why the Stumpjumper is a better bike than the Rockhopper. (He also tried to interest me in the Epic - but I'm not sure that's really in my league....)

The Stumpjumper is a pretty sweet bike -- great components and a better frame, but I think I might save myself the thousand dollars and simply go with the Rockhopper.



Tuesday, August 21, 2007

So Special(ized)

I love Specialized.

They're a great company and make great bikes. Maybe it's an emotional attachment carry-over from my favorite bike. Maybe they just have good marketing.

Maybe I'm just an emotional sap, but these videos captured everything I love about riding.

Click on Bike Exhibits in the back center. Select an exhibit and click on Watch Video in the bottom right corner. Enduro is my favorite.

Pain in the ...

Here's a great find from Mike:

I ride single-track trails on a mountain bike in the heart of Colorado's Rocky Mountains and during 20 years of riding I was unable to find a handlebar grip that alleviated numbness and pain in my palms -- until I tried the Ergon GP1 grip. Ergon grips differ from normal grips in that they have a contoured, rubber-coated platform under the outside portion of your palm. This platform provides support in such a way that pressure on the ulnar nerve is reduced or eliminated entirely. (I learned my hand numbness arose from pressure on the ulnar nerve in my palm while holding the handlebars.)

Installation is simple, requiring the use of a 4mm allen wrench. Fine-tuning the fit involves riding your bike for a few miles and then evaluating any pain or numbness. If necessary, loosen the bolts, slightly rotate the grips up or down, and retighten the bolts -- repeat until your pain or numbness disappears. In my case, rotating the rearmost portion of the grip down from horizontal did the trick. I understand people with carpal-tunnel issues typically rotate the grips upwards from horizontal to reduce the flex angle of their wrists.

Ergon grips are mounted on straight handlebars, such as those found on mountain bikes and some touring bikes, but NOT drop bars. They are available in models with or without bar ends and special short models that work with twist shifters, plus slightly smaller and lighter competition models.

Compared with standard rubber slide-on or "lock-on" grips the Ergon grips are more expensive and heavier. However, the price and weight difference for mine (70-100 grams more) pale next to the increased comfort and pleasure while riding. Since installing the grips, I've ridden 244 miles of expert mountain trails with a total 26,500' vertical gain, and experienced no pain and a huge reduction in my chronic numbness -- absolutely no numbness in my right hand and only very minor, infrequent numbness in my left. Everyone I have recommended these to has been pleased, including my chiropractor wife.

-- Graham Ullrich

Available at

Monday, August 20, 2007

Third Funeral

I had a sad weekend. I attended two funerals, which you can read about here.

Admittedly, the supposed third funeral wasn't exactly the loss of a loved one. At least a loved one that's really alive.

I've owned my Specialized Rockhopper since 1995. I cracked the frame from hanging it in an attic for 2 years and subjecting it to severe heat/cold swings. I replaced the frame in 1998 and have enjoyed it ever since. It's been about 3 years since riding regularly, and knowing that, I was afraid of what condition I'd find my old friend in.

I was pleased to find my bike in good shape - at least initially.

On my first ride I broke my front shock.

Last week I broke my chain and my shoes.

Saturday I took it into the local shop to get a new chain and received some bad news.

The guy there told me that my bottom bracket bearings were crushed, my rear cassette and front chain cog shot, and of course my shocks were toast. All the parts and labor would add up quickly - almost what I would pay for a brand new bike.

So long ol' buddy - see you on the great trails in the sky.

Monday, August 13, 2007

My Weak-end Ride

Caren and I had a jillion things to do this weekend but we still wanted to get a ride in. (She's been riding the past couple of Saturdays because of a minor foot injury.)

After we got all the necessary things out of the way, we packed up the bikes and headed up to Hobble Creek Trail to squeeze a quick ride in.

My poor bike is starting to show its age. On a recent ride I broke my shocks and I figured that it was the beginning of the end for my old Rockhopper.

Sure enough, this ride I managed to break my biking shoes - which are just a little younger than my bike - as well as my chain. Breaking my chain meant that I had to walk the last .75 miles to where Caren and the kids were waiting. And I had to do it on shoes that were totally falling apart.

All-in-all, not my best ride ever.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

So far...

Mike sent out an email the other day giving a broad overview of the goal for this next fall.

[we] are planning on going on a 2 day bike ride next September (2008). It will be training for a longer 4-5 day bike ride that we would like to do in a year or two.

Mike also invited those who simply want to come and visit and maybe hit the trails around the camp.

For those that would like to go camping and do a little biking, you are welcome as well. There is a lot of pretty country out there, and we would love to have you participate however you feel comfortable.

So far we have Mike and I signed up for the long 'out-and-back' style ride. Conor, Becky, Dad, Daniel, and Mom have all indicated some intrest in participating. The question is, are you all planning on the out-and-back style of ride or the bring-your-bike-and-go-camping style?

Sound off!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A Point of Clarification

As I was talking over this ride with Dad I was talking him through what we might encounter while on a trail (stumps, roots, rough roads, drop-offs), when he commented, "Hmmm, sounds technical."

Yes, technical compared to road biking but not nearly as much as other disciplines within mountain biking.

In the back of my mind I've always known that there are different types of mountain biking, but have never really thought about how to classify different types of riding styles.

Lucky for us, Wikipedia is there to save the day.

On the Mountain Bike page it details out all the major disciplines you find in mountain biking.

Our Epic Ride will fall squarely under the Cross Country style of riding. No tricks, no ├╝ber-technical downhill/uphill, no major obstacles; just a long well-planned journey that happens to be on a semi-technical trail.

We won't be doing any freeriding, downhill, or trials.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Kokopelli Trail

Here is a fun trail that looks to have some technical aspects as well as some good riding. This one looks best to do in September/October time frame.


Epic Ride Beginnings

The Adventure Cycling post at Funky-Disco is really a fair primer to put this blog in context.

In short, Mike and Andrew (that's me) are planning an epic ride. We've always wanted to do one - and now that we're a little less stupid than when we first dreamt this up - it's time to start training.

What exactly constitutes an 'epic ride' you ask? We'll keep you posted.