Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Stick a Fork in it

Stick a fork in it
















It's DONE.  Cross season is over for yet another year.
Me sad.  Me no get cross season this year.  Me have SOME fun at a few races hanging out.  Me no like not racing.  Make no sense why hurting yourself SO bad is SO fun.  Make sense to miss such silliness.  Me will race next year.

The HPM bunch had a good season,  and a great time at States up in Loveland.  The E2 boys put in a HUGE effort to do a great event,  and they put on a good show.  I have to say I am still happy to share the way of life that cross is with a class bunch of guys.  They seem to know just the right balance of racing their guts out,  being competitive (7th place in Colorado Cross Cup for both 35+ 4 and 45+ 4, all with a VERY few riders...),  and still knowing how to have a good time.  I think this shot from Saturday pretty much sums up both the season,  and my dear teammates.

Armin risks disqualification to get a beer hand up.

Santa says thanks for a great season.

There is yet one more race to do if you are hardcore,  maybe a few underground things on tap,  plus Nationals and even Worlds here in the United States to keep the Cross buzz alive,  but mostly for us lowly middle of the pack types,  it's time to start thinking of next year.

For me,  my number one training plan is to get the cancer back out of my blood so I CAN train and race next year.  The time to treat my blood cancer is rapidly approaching.  Time to fix that broken blood shit so I can actually ride a bike again.  I am finishing up some baseline diagnostic work in the next couple of weeks (Spleen ultrasounds and a bone marrow biopsy...),  and hope to start my Chemotherapy in early January.  I think I will go ahead and document the Leukemia treatment process here,  as it seems to help my brain out when I write about the cancer thing.  Good way to let some of the demons out of my head,  and maybe give some insight into the wonderful world of cancer and it's treatment.

Till then,  you all enjoy being DONE,  not getting up so damn early each weekend,  NOT freezing your cowbells off,  and NOT beating yourself into a pulp each weekend.  Rest up,  it will soon be time to start it all again.  I SHALL be part of it this time.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Upgrading the Upgrades


So,  once again,  I see one of those cycling rule changes I have to sit back and think about.  Is this good for the sport?  My team?  Me?

Categories,  how to set them up,  how to split them in a race,  and how and when to move up,  probably one of the best ways to set off a cat fight among competitive cyclists.  Once again,  the USA Cycling folks are trying to stir things up.  Last week,  there was a quiet announcement detailing changes to the upgrade rules for USAC racers.  Here is the sum total of the detail from the Borg on this

     http://www.usacycling.org/2013-changes-to-upgrades-for-cyclo-cross-and-road-licenses.htm

Pretty thin,  but shows some changes from the current rules for sure.  Here I will try and summarize  what the Current USAC rule is for 2012,  What BRAC/ACA had prior to the assimilation (As best as I can find/remember,  as I have not been able to find an old listing of the specific wording...),  and the upcoming 2014 rules.  It changes by category and also have to split Road & Cross upgrade criteria as well,  as they are quite different.  Also show the "CAN" upgrade qualification,  and the "Mandatory" up you go,  kicking & screaming limits

For Cross (My obvious priority here..)
























For ROAD





































WHEW.....  THAT was a mess.   What the hell does this all boil down to?  Why do I suddenly feel like a lawyer with all the small type?  Kinda hard to really tell,  but here we go.

GENERALLY,  it seems that for Cross,  it got a lot EASIER to upgrade (Or GET upgraded...) into Cat 3 or 2,  harder to upgrade to a Cat 1.  Definitely more specific mandatory upgrade criteria based on points,  not wins & field sizes.

For the Road,  It got HARDER to get an upgrade across all Cats.  Like cross,  much more specific mandatory upgrade criteria on points,  not wins & field sizes.

Mixed messages road to cross make it hard to Divine an intent here,  outside of Cat 4 upgrades in Cross.  USAC rules are going from a "race a few times,  get a few points and you CAN upgrade" with nothing forcing a rider to upgrade,  to a "10 races & off you go to the 3s no matter what" deal.  Pretty big change.  I would guess that this sudden move to empty out the Cat 4 ranks is intended to address both Sandbagging in the Cat 4s and more likely to make Cat 4 more of a "beginner" field,  and a less intimidating first race environment.  If that truly WAS the intent,  the "10 & Out" plan will definetely do that,  and in pretty short order.  Cat 3 fields might get pretty big,  may become the new 35+ Cat 4,  Rolling Armageddon every weekend.

I have seen that in spite of the "less than specific"  USAC mandatory upgrade criteria for moving people out of Cat 4,  over this season,  no Cat 4 that got more than 25 upgrade points has STAYED a Cat 4.  My Cyber-stalking seems to show that a "not so official" 25 point mandatory upgrade criteria is in use for Colorado.  Sniffing around the comments section of the online world,  It seems that at least some other parts of the country have a more apparent sandbag problem.    We might well be thankful (Again...) that we have a certain YVG here to quietly do the right thing,  in spite of the system.  I think the legacy system from the BRAC results/upgrade database is also making it easy for both the powers that be and for us to watch being their backs for any sandbagging.  Why those other keepers of the upgrades have never heard of Crossresults.com is a whole different question.

I come at this from the perspective of the "Cat4ever" or "Career Cat4" kind of racer.  In spite of WAY too many years of trying,  Never have I scored a SINGLE upgrade point.  While I can certainly race a Masters Open race,   or even 35+ Cat3,  it is just plain not going to be as motivating to be fighting to not get lapped,  or getting out of the bottom 10.  I'll not be totally bummed to be a 3,  and just race 45+ (or 55+ in a year or so.... ug).  I even had the long term goal of GETTING that upgrade point,  and upgrading.  May never get that chance,  boo hoo for me.

I know that the USAC for sure,  and a lot of racers as well,  do not get the concept of what I call "Recreational Bike Racers".  Those people who ride a lot,  race a little,  and are not really that hard-core,  get-faster-train-hard-podium-focused-give-me-the-hardest-competition-skinny-race-dork.   I really think that the race speeds and level of competition in the 4s suits that level of rider quite well,  allowing them to shoot for "top half" finishes,  maybe a few Cross Cup Points,  without a huge commitment.  I think there are a lot of back of the pack Cat 4s,  particularly in the 35+ and 45+ Cat 4 groups who would be VERY much de-motivated to be booted up to the 3s,  and getting shuffled right back to getting lapped.    I can't quite understand why racing at that level is the subject of the semi-derision it is. if you want to (and CAN...) kick ass,  get the results and move up,  Great.  if you want to invest enough to race mid-pack 4s and and are happy with that,  Great.  Sure,  it may not be "real" bike racing,  but so what?  Not everyone wants to make the Olympic team. (Someone in Colorado Springs just shuddered violently...)

What will this change do if really implemented?  After the first 5 weeks or so,  you start to see a LOT of Cat 4s suddenly moving into the Cat3s.  With 3 separate fields feeding only 2 CAT 3 groups,  those 2 already large races are going to get a LOT bigger.  With a points minimum to upgrade anyone out,  and so many coming in,  how big are those fields going to get?  Pretty damn big.  The current bunch of 3s are about half again faster than the bulk of 4s (Lap times don't lie),  so you will end up with a larger spread of rider speeds in a larger field,  a GREAT recipe for conflict and chaos.

How are those "bottom 20" cat 4s today going to feel about racing a masters open or cat 3 race every weekend?  Probably not going to be very motivating.  Pushing people who are finishing in the bottom half of a Cat 4 field up into the 3s,  even with a lot of the riders around them moving up at the same time is NOT the way to encourage people to CONTINUE with racing bikes.  Even if they are getting lapped with a bunch of the riders they were in that bottom half with,  no one REALLY likes getting lapped every week.  Everyone needs a small success here and there.   A REAL beginner field May well bring in more riders (less intimidating level to start in)  but again,  just about the time you get them hooked on this new sport,  you toss them to the wolves.

Think this will be a mess,  but again thought the USAC merger would be a mess,  and that is working out OK.  Course,  given what I see today,  Colorado may just quietly go our own way on upgrades,  just as it appears is happening today.

Course,  there is always the WWMD* approach
  

* What would Adam Myerson Do?

See you all at states.  We'll have a full High Peaks Masters compound in operation on the team tent row.  stop by!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

That looks like it hurts.....

Managed an appearance at a cross race once again this season.  This one made me think MAYBE it's not so bad to be broken and not able to race.  The Bowl of Death at Louisville was tweaked a bit this year,  and the additions looked somewhere in between cruel & unusual and downright medieval to actually ride around.  Couple of "new & improved" little power uphills,  and some general twisty-ness looked to take the bowl from it's usual bleeding from the ears pain threshold,  well up into new territory.    I can't really decide if I missed that one or not.  Some people did not appear to truly enjoy parts of this race.

Tried to get some video right at one of the new little "pops" they managed to add to the course.  Seemed to be a bit of eyeball-bulging even on the first lap.  Probably should have gone back by the last laps,  to REALLY see the fun,  but I was over on one of the OTHER painful little hills.

SM35+ cat 3 - Lap 1

Boulder CX Series #5 - Louisville Recreation Center - SM35+ Cat 3 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

SM35+ open - Lap 1

Boulder CX series - Louisville Rec - SM 35+ Open from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

I have to give serious props to both the Without Limits guys and their race timing company,  RaceRite. Having the lap times and results streaming to the website LIVE during the race is REALLY cool when watching a race.  Now you can say,   "hey it looks like old so-and-so is going backwards" and then look at the lap times right there,  and KNOW they ARE going backwards.  SO cool!  You can see who is in what position while watching the race live.  Great  fodder for some "constructive heckling"of your friends during the race.

With the season starting to wind down,  it looks like the "fixes" to the "race experience" are once again starting to filter out,  both from BRAC and the Borg down in the Springs.

Seems as if the BRAC people noticed them basically getting their hiney handed to them on a plate in the race-results and timing business,  as they seem to be TRYING to catch up with the BRAC-owned timing system for next year.  Of course,  even if they are able to get their registration & data entry issues cleared up by owning the chips and linking them to bib numbers instead of BRAC numbers,  it will again come somewhat at the cost of the membership again.  Those timing chips you bought?  The ones that were good for 3 years or so?  Guessing they are now just transponder paperweights.  Not thinking they will be buying those back to create the "1500 chip pool" they need to "fix" their timing system.  Not to mention I don't see anything about getting someone with rudimentary database skills to get some registration software that can register riders and (GASP!!)  cross reference a start list to the USAC ranking list to generate a call-up list in less than 24 hours.   Will see if they can get that system going,  but until then Boulder Racing,  with live lap time streaming,  both on a screen at the finish,  and to the web,  plus the results printer at the finish,  will just keep showing them what CAN be done.  I will be attending the BRAC Club Council meeting next week (Talk about a PARTY...),  so may have some more to share on this change after that.

Then of course the Springs Borg is going to fix sandbagging once and for all.  THIS will be interesting.  No More "Cat 4ever" or "career Cat 4" I guess.  For those of us who FIT that description (myself due to NEVER doing well enough to score even ONE career upgrade point...),  and the "Recreational Racer",  it is just plain going to be a lot harder to get out of the back half of a race.  Not the end of the world,  and I DO understand the intention of making Cat 4 a TRUE beginner category.   Course,  I have never thought that the USAC gives a CRAP about anyone who is not trying to make the Olympic team.  I don't think they even realize some people race (badly..) for FUN,  and don't need (or want...)  to be a Cat 2 to enjoy racing.  I'm sure I will manage a full stand alone rant about THIS little gem soon,  stay tuned for that one....

Getting Pretty psyched for states in a couple of weeks.  Without any of that pesky "racing" to worry about,  and a team tent site already purchased,  I believe I can make that a fun day.  Also saw something about "all you can drink beer mugs" going to be available at the beer garden.  Hmmm.   I am betting the team tent row will be quite entertaining this year.  Should be fun.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Riders on the Storm

Getting a bit behind in my blogular posting duties these days.  Been a bit under the weather,  and had not drummed up the motivation to go and spectate at the races the last couple of weeks.  Given the reports and the SWEET little clip from Johnny D below,  It seems as if I SHOULD have gone to Sienna Lake last weekend.  Entertaining is hardly enough to describe this.  Nothing in the weather looks very cross-ish coming up this weekend,  but in spite of sunny and dry skies,  at least there is this little gem for entertainment..  Have to vote the soundtrack choice as one of the best EVER.


CycloX Sienna Lake 11/10/2012 highlights from SM35+4 race from John Deibert on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cross - Up Close

If one can't race,  go Heckle.

And since you are at the races,  just as soon invent a project.   Here you go,  Cross,  Up Close & Personal.

Cross - Up Close from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Glop

As predicted (for a change...)  it was the first weekend of "Real" cross conditions,  blessing the big bubble weekend once again with everything from frozen ruts to snot on ice,  to just plain glop.  It was looking downright fun out there this weekend.  Made it out to parts of the "Rez" race,  but missed the Valmont show.

Here are the usual video goods from Saturday.  I also shot a bunch of more "interesting" angles with the Go-Pro,  and am working up a little "artsy-fartsy" clip from that stuff.   I KNOW you can't wait.

SM35+  Open

Colorado Cross Classic - SM 35+ open Lap1 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

SM35+ cat 3

Colorado Cross Classic - SM35+ cat 3 - Lap1 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

SM35+ cat 4 - Lap 1 in the whoops

Colorado Cross Classic - SM35+ cat 4 Lap 1 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

SM45+ cat 4 & 55+ Start

Colorado Cross Classic - SM 45+ cat 4 & 55+ Start from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

SM45+ cat 4 - Lap 1
 
Colorado Cross Classic - SM45+ cat 4 Lap 1 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

View From The Front

The Rain and snow is coming down.

"it's beginning to look a lot like 'Cross-mas..."  or some such nonsense.  Given the forecast,  all you lucky 'Crossers are looking to get a REAL dose of cross this weekend.  Just makes it harder and harder to NOT be out there.  Sigh.  

With that,  a nice little video edit from a friend,  labeled as "Some highlight footage from the handlebar of the 2nd place bike,  augmented with some video from a kind bystander and well-wisher".   a new twist on the race lap video edit.  Hats off to Johnny D. for this one.  Enjoy.


Blue Sky Velo cyclocross race, Mens 35+_4 highlights from John Deibert on Vimeo.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Blue Sky Velo - Xilinx

Some video from the Beer-Drinking-Dads-League on Sunday

SM35+ cat 4 - Start

Blue Sky Velo Cup from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

SM35+ cat 4 - Lap 1

Blue Sky Velo Cup - SM35+ cat 4 Lap 1 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

SM35+ cat 4 - Lap 2

Blue Sky Velo Cup - SM35+ Lap2 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

SM35+ cat 4 - Lap 3
 
Blue Sky Velo Cup - SM35+4 lap 3 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mmmmm... Enchilada.....

I hear there was some kind of big-time national tour kind of Cyclocross race-thing last weekend up in Ft. Collins.  Also hear that for at least some of the groups,  the tradition of snotty weather for the USGP here continued.  The old guy fields looked stacked to the gills with fast guys,  and as usual,  KFC and J-Pow did their usual thing up there,  generally beating everyone up.

Me?  Just heard about it.   I was "otherwise occupied" a bit further west.  Did a quick trip to Moab and Fruita,  catching much of the same rain that got the USGP all "Cross-ey" on Saturday.  I think we may well have managed to catch THE last day you could do all of "Burro-Down" (AKA the whole Enchilada..) in Moab for the year.  Managed to eke out a few short rides on Friday & Saturday between the rain on the Kokopelli system in Fruita,  and topped off the trip with a less than 12 parsec time on the Kessel Run,   er,  well really just a few shuttles runs on Kessel,  with lights,  in the dark,  with Knob Creek shots at the start of each.   Good,  clean fun.

Highlight was still the Whole Enchilada.  Pretty damn cool riding up to treeline,

Getting a good Aspen dose,





Then getting to ride ALL of Porcupine rim,


ALL the way to the river.

In general It was a trail one can approve of,  even in election season.

I Approve....... from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

I guess if you are going to miss Cross season and be broken,  got to make the best of it.  While a lot of fun,  the Enchilada just about killed me.  Even riding mostly downhill for 4 hours was enough to leave me drooling and in bed asleep at 8:30 that night.  Party on,  Dude.


Guessing there is not a lot of partying around the Lance Armstrong home right now.  Got to watch that (predictable) debacle unfold on my little vacation.  Lots of hate (and even some support... at least for his non-bike/cancer work..) out there in the cyber-sphere.  Do have to say LA has some BALLS for all these years,  playing the martyr.   I had not really ever been a "fan" and had lost a lot of interest in pro road cycling for years,   partly because I thought the domination of the Lance teams made the races somewhat boring.   But still it is just plain SAD to see that competitive cycling will just be seen by the "normal" masses as a bunch of skinny dopers for years to come.  Already,   the non-cyclist people I know ask about it all the time.   SAD.  <<begin sarcasm mode>> We can only hope he can at least he can hang on to the G-IV after all the sponsors dropped him like an Italian sprinter on a mountain stage.  I mean,  what would life be without that? <<end sarcasm mode>>

I have joked about doping.  Lately,  I really wish I COULD get some EPO,  just so I can ride "normally".  Ride for more than 2 hours without coming apart at the seams.  Be able to go on a ride without having to think "how long is the climb"?  Thinking maybe that would let me be able to ride more than one lap at the Wednesday "Not-Boulder Worlds" right now.     But really,  are you going to cheat yourself and everyone around you?   Cheat as a local master,  or for that matter a pro?  Motives of "making it" and pro contracts enough?  Getting that bit of gas to make the top 10 in the beer-drinking-dads-league for once?

Nope.  not really.  at least for me.  Apparently there were plenty it was OK for.  Sad for the sport we love.   Just Plain SAD

Monday, October 1, 2012

Bummin'

Hanging out at my first Cross Race of the season at Xilinx turned out to be a lot harder than I thought,  and I'm not talking about the long day helping the Beyond Limits guys put the race on.    I'm talking about how hard it is to NOT race.  I really thought that I was going to be "good" with not racing this season.  Turning out,  it's being a lot harder on my brain than I thought it would be.

Since confirming what I had suspected since early this spring,  that my Hairy Cell Leukemia had built back up to the point it was seriously affecting my already pretty poor aerobic performance on a bike,  I had come to terms with me missing this cross season.  All was well.  A season off was good.  More time to spend in the fall with my long suffering,  cross-widow wife.  Rest up.  Do some other things.  Hang at a few races.  Drink more beer.  Beat myself up less.  Sounded good.

Turns out,  This silly bike riding and racing thing seems to fill a pretty big part of my life.  While I AM enjoying some of this time,  the extra time with my wife,  NOT flogging myself with the odd interval session in a semi futile attempt at turning my limited bike racing talent into a somewhat less limited talent,  that is good.  The rest is not doing so good.  It is amazing how the slow & ongoing deterioration in the ability of my body to ride a bike up some hills,  or for more than a few hours at a time can influence your mood when you have spent SO many years working on the ability to do just that.

I have had to watch myself slowly degrade from this spring,  where I could still ride "reasonably" well,  at a moderate pace (no full efforts,  but could still get up a hill..),  to here in the fall,  where even an "easy" ride is starting to really leave me pasted.  In the last few weeks it has gotten bad enough that I have been declining ride invitations,  as I don't feel like I can gracefully do some of the rides,  or get up a larger climb without unreasonably holding people up.  Picking rides based on how much climbing,  or how long it will take to finish,  or the altitude,  rather than what is a "good" ride just plain sucks.  Looking at who is going on a ride,  making sure they will be "OK" with my "new" pace sucks.  All my riding friends would say they don't care,  but you still think that way.

I'm still getting out some,  but I am finding riding more & more frustrating,  not how you would ever want to feel about riding a bike.  Going to a cross race just drove it home.  Nothing like reality slapping you right in the face,  reminding you of where you are REALLY at,  no matter what your desires are.  That is just what one has to live with for any chronic medical issue,  cancer or not.  That being said,  it still just plain sucks to be in this mindset sometimes.

I was given my choice of when to get treated for my Leukemia on the last visit to my Oncologist.  Looking like I'll go do my Chemotherapy after Christmas,  just so I can have a real riding season next year.   The other symptoms (Strange,  not much of the info on ANY disease talks about your Vo2Max or Functional Power Threshold as a symptom of a disease....) are starting to show up,  and the timing for a New Years treatment should be good.  Now I just need to get there without getting any more misty-eyed about how I "can't ride".  Compared to so many,  I am a VERY lucky person,  given that my cancer is a "baby" cancer,  an "easy" one and it could be SO much worse.  Riding like crap is really a pretty petty whine in the big picture when it comes to this disease.

I caught myself thinking I hoped the weather would turn crappy,  so that I could have an excuse to not ride.   But really,  that is not what I want.  This weekend,   We'll be heading up to Frisco to catch the race,  stay with good friends,  and maybe take the big bike out for a easy spin before the high country changes seasons.  The following weekend plan to hook up with some folks for a quick trip out to Moab for a "Whole Enchilada" run,  and then a few days of relaxed riding in Fruita.    Riding may get a little frustrating right now,  but it ain't over yet.  Cancer does NOT get to take that away.


The Whole Enchilada: Top to Bottom - Moab, Utah from Phil Shep on Vimeo.

Thanks for listening.
I feel better.
Whining complete.    

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The long day - Xilinx

I'm cooked.  and I did not even race.  Spent part of Friday,  and all day Saturday helping the Boulder Racing guys put on the dust-bowl at Xilinx.  Boulder Cyclocross Series #2 is in the bag,  and so am I.

Since I am not racing this year,  will probably not have much video,  either on-board or off,  to share with you all this year.  With me spending all day running around Saturday,  rather than racing or getting  ready to ride,  I did get a few races on video.  Here are a few from Saturday.  I am still so tired from the long days helping with the race,  the rest will follow later.  

Must.  Rest.  Now......

45+ Open

SM45+ open - Boulder CX series #2 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

45+ Cat 4

SM45+ Cat 4 - Boulder CX series #2 - Xilinx from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

SM4

Boulder CX series #2 - SM4 Lap 1 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.




Thursday, September 13, 2012

It's ON..... without me.....

This weekend it all (Really) starts up. "It" being the cross season.   I know,  I know,  the season really started last weekend in the Springs,  but the "bubble" version starts up this weekend,  and being in the neighborhood makes it feel different.  .  Either way,  "It" is happening, for all practical purposes, without me. It is really strange to be here, be NOT racing, not frothing at the mouth, not giddy, not nervous and not Jittery. So far, no real depression, but it is pretty strange seeing everyone else getting psyched, fired up and ready, while I sit back, ride easy, and enjoy fall with no pressure.

The decision to NOT race was the right one.  I just continue to suck more & more on a bike,  and am starting to feel the low-grade fatigue that comes with my Little hairy problem.  An "easy" mountain bike ride is pretty much leaving me on the couch.  Just can't imagine what even "riding" a cross race would fee like right now.  Sigh.

I will at least get to one of the early season races,  as the HPM bunch is helping put on the Boulder CX series #2 race at Xilinx.  We'll be out there all day.  Now,  will it be the HOT dustbowl,  or the cool fall day?  Time will tell.


I Figured out how one gets to me a MONSTER bike handler.  How you get the kind of SICK skills that just leave me shaking my head.  You just have to start riding BIG when you are 8 years old.

 (Full disclosure:  The "Dirt Merchant" trail in the video is at Whistler's Bike park.  I took one look at the entry drop,  cried like a 4 year old and scurried elsewhere on the mountain with my tail between my legs.   This kinda sickens me...)  
What Were You Doing at 8 Years Old? Jackson Goldstone Leads Tyler McCaul Down Dirt Merchant - More Mountain Bike Videos

Or,  Maybe that is not even young enough to start.

Punks.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Big show came to town

Seems like there was some kind of big-time bicycle riding race-thing here in Colorado recently.  It was really just plain cool to see the incredible turnout of people coming out to watch a few skinny dudes ride past real fast.  The crowds for Stage 6,  the Golden to Boulder stage on Saturday were pretty much insane for a bike race.  The Flagstaff & Downtown Boulder mobs were almost predictable (still bigger than I imagined... picture plagiarized),  

but it was the crowds in other,  less obvious locations that were amazing.  Highway 93,  Nederland,  Lyons (now THEY know how to party...),  Lee Hill,  and other less obvious locations were basically mobbed,  3-4 deep and more.   Even more amazing was that is was not just the hardcore bike crowd,  but just a big bunch of random people coming out to see it.

Having been around in the Coors Classic era,  it NEVER had a following ANYTHING like what happened Saturday.  Even accounting for the much lower overall population "density" back then,  this was like 10 times the people out to watch.  This really bodes well for the sport in general right now.  The "Lance" effect or not,  there is a huge opportunity here,  and I hope it can be capitalized on.

My early race watching plan involved riding up to Lee Hill Road,  but some "life" kind of stuff got in the way for Saturday morning,  leaving little time to get out.  Instead,  just headed out to the closest random little hill on the course.  We ended up at US36 & Hygene Road,  just south of Lyons.  There were HUNDREDS of people out there.



As usual,  it was all over pretty quick,  but all I heard as people left was "that was cool",  "wow,  fun"  and that kind of stuff.  Never heard the "was that it?" you might expect for an hour of hanging around for a few seconds of people riding by.


Even that quick look at them FLYING up a hill that leaves me CRIPPLED,  was inspiring,  even though I feel a lot more like this


Than I do a bike racer anymore.   No matter,  it was QUITE a week for cycling in Colorado.  Think the race will be back?  Given the turnout all over the place,  you have to think so.  Hope this thing stays around a while.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Bad Blood

Normally,  I would have been posting the HELL out of this blog by this time of year,  digging up every little thing about the upcoming Cross season, going over the latest cross policy,  leaking the schedule,  analyzing the races,  and in general getting all frothy and silly in rampant anticipation for the upcoming cross season.  Instead,  I seem to have been avoiding writing anything here,  just dropping off the online radar,  so to speak.    Why?  well,  basically,   I'm broken.


At least from a bike racing perspective,  I am just plain broken.  Once again,  my "Bad Blood" has taken over,  and in spite of whatever desires and wishes I might have,  There is just not going to be any cross racing for me this year.   Given that this blog DOES seem to revolve at least a BIT around the silliness that IS Cross,  and it would just remind me of what I did NOT really want to think about,  I just plain hid from it.

As I have noted in the past here,  I have a chronic Blood Cancer.   It's a rare and "easy" cancer to deal with and live with,  a FAR cry from what most people who have the disease go thru,  but mine  never "goes away".   As a chronic form of the stupid disease,  Mine gets treated,  pushed to the background,  then slowly builds back up,  ever so slowly and surely screwing my blood chemistry up till it begins to get "symptomatic" again.  The "cycle time" varies,  but I guess I am on a 4 year plan,  since this is my first symptomatic recurrence since I got diagnosed 4 years ago in June.  Hairy Cell Leukemia is a rare blood cancer (like 500 people a year get diagnosed in the U.S. kind of rare....) that if untreated,  overtakes your white blood cells,  destroying your immune system very slowly.  Turns out it also kinda screws up your aerobic capacity along the way while it's at it.  Maybe I need to take up needlepoint for a while.


It is easily treated,  a short,  one time,  and relatively speaking mild Chemotherapy round,  and you can put it in the background for a few years.  Sadly,  I've been in the "too sick to RACE,  to well to TREAT" stage this summer,  and while my blood numbers are fine for a "normal" person,  it just does NOT seem to support riding a bicycle at the edge of your aerobic capability right now.   I can still RIDE my bike,  but just can't really get to my Lactic threshold,  or really spend ANY time near that top few percent of my already kinda limited aerobic capability.  This bad blood just does not seem to transport oxygen well,  as I can send my legs into a screaming,  fiery, lactic haze of pain,  complete with a kinda cool complete muscular failure at ridiculously low heart rates.  Nothing like your legs giving out at a heart rate of about 130 BPM to really confuse a bike racer.

I HAVE managed to use the "TIME OFF" this year to do some other bike stuff,  maybe some things that don't take quite that same high end aerobic functionality.  With a trip to Seattle,  Vancouver,  and Whistler in the summer mix,  I tried out a bit of that gravity-fueled kinda riding at Winter Park.  Love the Gladiator look,  huh?


Turns out that the bike park in Winter Park is pretty cool.  The bike park in Whistler is pretty wild.  Even with a day of pouring rain,  I can HIGHLY recommend a day there if you are "in the neighborhood".  It also turns out that riding these monster gravity sleds is a LOT of fun.  Spent more time in the air in those 2 days than I have had in 10 plus years.   Also just one or two days of that stuff will make you a LOT better descender in general.  There WILL be more of this in my future.



SO,  here I am,  just weeks away from what is usually a wildly anticipated start to cross season,  and I'm kinda wondering what it will be like this year without racing to fill my fall weekends.  While my sweet,  long-suffering wife is happy to have a bit of a fall without the endless cross weekends,  and I will certainly enjoy some time "off" in some ways,  it also feels like there is a pretty big hole in my soul right now.


Will I be at some races?  Hell,  yea!  I love the atmosphere and the people.  I may even enter and "ride around" in the back of one or 2 events,  but it just is NOT going to be the same.  Pretty strange.

So to all of you out there winding it up,  getting ready to rock the cross season,  I salute you.  Jealousy is never pretty,  and I kind of have it.  Just know that I will be back,  will get treated (probably well before next cross season...) and plan on hitting it hard when I can get back.  Till then,  enjoy your health,  NEVER take it for granted,  and have a hell of a season you all.  I already miss it.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wow,  you would have thought I had up & skipped out to Bangladesh or something,  given my lack of appearances here in Blog-land.  Nope,  have not gone on some top secret NSA undercover mission or anything fun like that.  Have had some basic motivational & inspirational issues with the writing,  especially anything bike-related.    It's been a tough,  as well as busy early summer here in Not-Boulder.    Sadly,  I just have not had too much inspiring bike kind of stuff to get me motivated to yammer about here.  But you are not all off the hook yet.  

One of the distractions that has kept my little tiny brain occupied was a home remodeling project,  one that required pretty much moving EVERYTHING out of the living part of the house for a while.  This led to much cleaning/sorting type behavior,  which led to the discovery of some,  shall we say "vintage" pictures and nick-knacks from the semi-deep historical well for competitive bicycle riding in our fair area.  Seems to have given me a bit of material to work with here this summer.

One of the things dug out of a box was a T-shirt from an old road race.  The recently completed Superior Morgul-Bismark race in Superior is the resurrection of many old versions of the Classic "Morgul" course.  From Coors Classic days,  to various local races.  The last club that did a race there prior to the Boulder Racing crew reviving it a few yeas ago,  was a small club of cat 4 folks out of Boulder in 1990.

The Boulder Velo Club put on the Morgul road race in 1990-ish for 2 years.  Not nearly as busy as it is now around there (no Rock Creek development,  and superior had like 3 dirt streets..) but was till quite an undertaking for a relatively small club.   I still remember having to go out & count how many white lane dashes were on the hwy. 93 hill,  so we had enough cones to put one on each stripe as the state patrol required.

Glad to see that race back,  and in the hands of a professional production crew.  The front range should be happy to have these races.

Speaking of things to be happy you have,  or maybe more like NOT have,  here is another one for your "solutions in search of a problem" file,  bike edition.  

Really?  You need a digital-gauge-meter-beeper-doo-hickey to drink enough when you ride?  You need this to "set and monitor personal hydration goals".  Really?  The next big thing?  Hmmmm......

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Moab

I have been QUITE slow in updating this little blog-like-thing here.  I apologize to those few who DO drop by to read up on the happenings here.  LOTS been going on in my little world here,  just not left too much time for spewing words here.

It had been YEARS since I've gone to Moab just to ride.  Been thru the place on various desert-rat-related projects,  and ridden a few "bookend" rides after a White Rim ride/party event or 2,  but have been doing the spring desert riding elsewhere behind the Zion Curtain for a lot of years now.  This year,  the motley crew I usually head out with had lots going on,  so rather than exploring new and different Utah wonders,  we "settled" for the obvious,  easy choice for spring "training" camp.


The little trail fairies have been BUSY in Moab over the last few years since I last spent much time there.  Klondike Bluffs,  Sovereign,  Mag 7,  and the "Brand Trails" have seen a LOT of trail work.  For an area of Moab that once just had a few "crappy" dirt/sand roads,  (OK,  OK, a lot of those "crappy roads" are pretty damn cool rides....)  there is now an INCREDIBLE network of bike-specific singletrack,  ranging from "girlfriend first time" to "near-death-technical".



Herds of new trails in the Klondike Bluffs,  Sovereign,  Brand Trails and even the Gemini Bridges area.


And ALL of them are a ton of fun.


As usual,  the after ride activities did not disappoint,  either.


Sometimes,  the classics are a good thing.  with or without the "new twists",  Moab is still WELL worth a spring or fall visit,  without question.  Thinking a fall visit,  if nothing else to FINALLY ride the Whole Enchilada may be in the cards....   Hmmmmm.

Get that desert ride in before it gets hot.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

New Team?

You LUCKY person you.

You now have a chance to become part of the Least sponsored, Most fun, Least Serious, Serious Cross-'Racin team out there. Yes, while hard to believe, the High Peaks Masters team is looking for a few fun people to help round out our team.


We are:
- Focused on Cross (But you can race anything you like... even... ***ROAD*** races...)
- Based in the Roughly Longmont/Boulder/Loveland area
- A Masters only (35+) team (name kinda gives that away, huh?)
- More Social Than "Serious Racer"
- Cat 3/4 mostly
- Here to help each other have fun & race till you puke
- Fond of heckling each other


We are NOT:
- Sponsored in any "serious" way
- Hard Core, serious, upgrade or get out Nazis

We offer:
- A fun, casual, social team to race with
- No whining about who gets the free sunglasses, tubes, or other sponsor schwag
- Multiple years without having to buy new kits (no "real" sponsors = Not a lot to change...)
- A small price break on FRS Energy & 1st Endurance Products
- A dive bar for team "meetings"
- Annual dinner/video Highlight Night
- Nordorks with guns (Our Nordic/Biathlon Team...)
- The occasional full-blown team compound at Cross races, full tent, Food, beer.....
- Annual public service projects (Trail work, Soup angels, etc.)


We Want from you:
- A couple of races a year
- A fun attitude
- $20 a year, and maybe a "service" day (The $20 funds the USAC/ACA team dues... leftovers go to beer)
- One day a year to work a cross race (Usually Boulder Racing - Xilinx)

Sound like Something you want to get in on? Join the 3rd best team in Colorado Beer-Drinkin-Dads-League Cyclocross for 2011? Do you have what it takes? (Well, probably, we are not that picky.....) Contact us at highpeaksmasters@gmail.com or hit the link off the blog. Maybe, just maybe we can make you dreams (cycling dreams... ) come true.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Fake

Well, after the 2 weeks of fake summer, we got our "you're not out of the woods yet, buster" reminder here in the last few days. Maybe now the trails will return to some kind of tacky dirt, rather than the "August Dust" that was already in place. Sunday was WAY too hot in the land of scorching sun

on the Bobcat Ridge/Ginny Trail

and I did leave the skinnies to my younger, faster healing riding companions.

Summer, yep, it seemed like it was here. Then, Tuesday it was snowing. But hey, it is Colorado, and wet, snotty weather is not just for cross season. The rides are good this spring, nice to be able to get some good mountain bike rides in this early. Now if I can just figure out why it HURTS so damn much after being off the bike for so long. Could it be "old age"? Nah, got to be something else.

On a less whiny note, saw yet ANOTHER way to shoot video of a cross race, thanks to The Natural Way Racing Team guys. What a cool toy. I think I want one.

Speaking of wanting one..... After the new UCI rules, one of these would be nice to have, eh?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ah, safer now...

I am turning out to be quite happy that the ACA voted to re-join the USAC fold. Why, if Colorado remained independent, we might not have picked up vitally important new UCI rules that prevent such horrible and unsafe practices like Camel Backs worn on your front, Socks that are too long, and filed off "lawyer tabs".

I feel safer already. Thank god we can't void those fork warranties anymore. Just think of the untold horrors that might have befallen us if we had not rejoined. OH, The Horror...... The Horror.....

(And yes, I KNOW it's not April 1st..........)

Monday, March 5, 2012

The On-Board Diaries

My hand is now (finally....) free from it's claw/cage/splint/medieval torture device. Course, it's still pretty much useless. a stiff, atrophied lump. One thing at a time. I guess that "Hand Therapy" is the next step (OK, stop what you are thinking.... geez.) in getting back "online".

Skiing looks to still be a couple of weeks out, since I really can't fall on that hand just yet, but am going to try and ride again, as I NEED to stop the inflation around my middle, and the general softening all over that has been going on while I was semi-crippled. While the drinking hand/ability was not impaired, when you do not exactly DO a lot (well, OK anything...) else, it really takes its toll.

The High Peaks Masters winter video premiere party was a great success, and since the season wrap ups are now "out there", I can start sharing them here without them being pirated and sold in cheap Mexican restaurants in Longmont & on the streets of China. First up, the 2011 version of the "On-Board Diaries", my seat & bar-cam "best of" cut.


Wish me luck on my "maiden" rides.....

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Making Soup

So, I've been quiet here, mostly as I can only type with one hand, due to the "claw"....
WAY too frustrating to write much. ONE more week, is the current prognosis for remaining crippled. Not able to hang on to the bars, so no riding till I can take this thing off. So, not a lot going on, just drinking beer, eating, sitting about, and the odd off-season bike team events.

John's quote said it all.....

"High Peaks Masters - Making your world a better place, one meal at a time"

6 High Peaks Masters team members spent an afternoon at Seagate cooking 65 meals for the homeless of Longmont. We cooked the packaged meals were cooked in Seagate's cafeteria kitchen and distributed by HOPE of Longmont, as part of Seagate & Hope's "Soup Angels" program.
Felt good to give something back, non-bike related.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ouch


That's what I said. My first decent ski day of the year, and it ended poorly. How poorly? How about THIS poorly...... Damn Rocks......
Finally get the snow, and I manage to put a dent in my winter. Now, not only am I not having much to write about here, now I can only type with one hand, so pardon the brevity.

Of course, I DID manage to have the GoPro running.....

What fun.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Off-Season

Seems as if the "off season" has dulled my need to spew words here. With the end of racing in Colorado, then the US, and now worlds, I have kinda been hibernating a bit, not finding as much to write about. Course, with a blog focused on Cyclocross, I guess this time of year can be considered the slow season, and maybe I get a break.

Seems as if the locals are already getting spun up about the changes to the upcoming race season, even here in the depths of deep, dark winter. A new season points system for road & cross in Colorado (Hmmm. one that looks a LOT like one I proposed 3 years ago to the ACA...), and some minor tweaks to the categories, mostly brought on by the USAC cat 5 requirement has set off a blizzard of comments on 303 Cycling. A bigger blizzard than we've managed to get in the high country this year. Guess everyone is really just bored.

One of my Projects here is a couple of Video/slide shows for a team get-together. It's become a tradition to have a beer & burger nite with a season highlight slide show. Since I have so many races recorded from the Bar & seat cam this year, I have found that going thru that video for a season cut let me see my whole season in a different light. Nothing like seeing your whole season, after a few weeks out. Shows you all your "strengths" and weaknesses in graphic, slow-motion-capable, rewind & look again detail. Humbling & enlightening at the same time.

If you had any curiosity of what the Koksijde Worlds course looked like, Jeremy Powers and the Behind the Barriers crew took care of you. You just can't bitch about "sand" at our little local Boulder Reservoir courses after seeing this. Oh, and it looks like they stole my "rear-view" mirror idea. Guess I am just a trendsetter.