Category Archives: Bicyling

Even more running and riding

I finished off 2013 with a bit over 3,400 combined miles running and cycling. A bit over 600 of that was running, a good 100 miles less than last year. I’m running the Colorado Marathon again this year, though this time with a larger group of friends. That means it’s time to start training. Unfortunately, I’m still recovering from a broken rib that happened at the beginning of December while playing hockey. And, heh, I’m also recovering from the flu. The 16 week training period doesn’t actually start for a week, but I’ve only run twice in the last month. Hopefully I’ll get a few runs in this coming week before the countdown begins.

In any case, part of the ritual is reviewing how training went last year. The two plans in the table below are from the book The Marathon Method. Training this past year didn’t go quite as smoothly as the previous year. Hopefully this year will be a bit more consistent.

2013 training

BTC and Hiking

It’s been some time now, but the Bicycle Tour of Colorado was a blast. I rode with my friends John and Barry, and we’re really quite compatible speed-wise. Each of us beat the others to the top of a more than one climb, and we rode together for a good part of the week. And better still, we had a great time seeking out the brew pubs in each of the towns we stopped in. (And there are a lot!)

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Here we are at the top of Independence Pass.

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This was a slightly more common occurrence. We found beer everywhere. Good beer, even. And usually locally brewed.

On the rest day in Crested Butte I decided to ride the chair lift to the top of the ski area and hike to the top of the Butte. Then I walked all the way to back to the condo. I was more sore from that hike than any of the cycling days. But it was still a great way to spend the day off.

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Me, at the top of Crested Butte.

Here’s a bunch more photos I shared of the week.

Here’s the week according to Strava:

The Crested Butte hike was just the first of many this summer. The following week I climbed Grays and Torreys Peaks and then climbed Mount Yale with my friend Blade.

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And this past weekend my twin sister Jeannette came out and she made me climb Mount Audubon with here.

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This coming weekend I’m planning to climb Huron Peak with Blade and a few more folks. I’ll try to post pics of that a little sooner….

Colorado Marathon and the impending BTC

It’s been over a month since I ran the Colorado Marathon. I finished ~14 minutes faster than last year, but missed my goal by a good bit. Here are my results. My official time was 4:49:05. Here’s what my GPS said I did on Strava.

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This year, I really did try to push my pace a bit. I felt good most of the way. I was with the 4:30 pace group until the half marathon mark where I decided to stop for a pit stop. Even with the stop, I think the 2:17:47 time was a personal record. (If not, it’s close. I didn’t need to use the port-a-potties all that badly, so it’s a moral PR if nothing else.)

I ran the first five or so miles with my friend Patrick. We run at nearly the same speed, so it’s a good match. But he took a pit stop early, so I didn’t see him again until the finish.
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Here’s a picture as I was approaching the finish. This is probably just before my legs gave out.
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They didn’t literally give out, of course. But the fast starting pace finally caught up in the last few miles. With about 5 miles to go, the 4:45 pace group caught up to me. I stuck with them for a couple of miles, but just couldn’t keep it up. At about mile 25, I really needed to walk, and did so for a good 1/4 mile. The data on Strava shows the slow down pretty well. 🙂 (My GPS gave me extra mileage in the middle of the race, so it thinks my pace is under 11:00, though in reality it was a few seconds over.)

Even with the rookie mistake of going out too fast, I’m pleased with my results. Pacing is hard for such a long run. I pushed too hard to maintain the pace the whole way, but I didn’t push so hard that I couldn’t finish.

Next up for me (this weekend!) is the Bicycle Tour of Colorado. I’m riding with a couple of friends from Boulder who I ride with often. It’ll only be three of us because two dropped out after a bad accident a few weeks back. Blade and Alma are recovering well, but aren’t ready for the ride. Alma really shouldn’t ride until next season. Her crash was particularly bad, requiring emergency brain surgery. Her story is here. I was involved in the crash as well, but only had a small bruise on my shin.

I won’t go into more details here, but it was relatively slow speed crash at only 20 mph. It really reminds me how fragile we are. I plan to take next week’s riding especially carefully.

Toenails neatly trimmed

Actually, I trimmed them about a week ago to make sure they’d have time to heal before tomorrow’s marathon, just in case I did it poorly.

Training has gone pretty well this year. I have just over 350 miles in – just slightly less than last year. I missed two of my long runs – one because of a cold, and one due to our crazy spring snow. But I still got in two 20 mile training runs. The first was quite slow (12:30/mi) and had me really doubting that I could improve my time this year. I really didn’t feel good the whole run. But I did finish and wasn’t terribly sore afterwards.

The second went quite well. It was the Rocky Mountain Road Runners 20 mile marathon training run. I managed a 10:30/mi pace and felt strong the whole way. I don’t know if I can manage that pace for another hour, but I’m gonna give it a shot. Last year, I finished in 5:03. That’s a bit slower than I hoped (and expected). That may happen again this year, but if all goes well, I’m shooting for 4:35 (that 10:30/mi pace). There are pace groups this year, so I may try to stick with the 4:30 group. And if I can’t, I’ll just keep running.

One nice change this year is the lack of injury. Last year, I strained my Achilles two weeks before the race and I was really worried it would keep me from finishing. I babied it for the first 1/3 of the race before settling in and mostly forgetting about it. This year, my back has been a bit stiff, but that’s really nothing new. I’ve been rowing every week and doing core strength exercises. I can’t say that that’s helped, but it certainly has hurt.

Once this is done, I’m really looking forward to switching back to cycling. I signed up for the Bicycle Tour of Colorado with my cycling friends, and have felt like a slacker not getting in enough miles. That will change starting Monday. (Well, maybe Tuesday or Wednesday….) After the BTC, I’ll do the Courage Classic for the fifth time. I have a friend who wants me to the Imogene Pass Trail Run with him in September. It looks insanely hard and would be quite a commitment to tack on. I’ll have to decide if it’s possible soon.

Now, I’m off to Fort Collins to pick up my race packet and continue carbo-loading. Woohoo! Here goes nothing!

Another year of biking and running

As the year closes down, I’m about to hit 3000 miles total. That’s about 2300 miles on the bike and 700 running. I’ve signed up for the Colorado Marathon again, so I’ve transitioned back to running more than riding. Running really is more pleasant in the cold after all.

As I plan for the marathon, I wanted to look back at how training went last year. I came amazingly close to the the 16 week plans that I’d been following. I knew that skiing would get in the way of some real training, but that’s a good tradeoff to make for me. I put together a table of the two training plans I was looking at (the beginner and intermediate plans from The Marathon Method).

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(I pasted a picture because I’m simply too lazy to deal with formatting tables in WordPress.)

I did four organized runs for the long runs as noted above (Frosty’s Frozen 10, Ralston Creek Half Marathon, and two Rocky Mountain Road Runner 20 mile runs). I managed to do more miles in my long runs than the even the intermediate plan had, but I was otherwise closer to the beginner plan. That’s probably because I rarely ran more than three times per week. I’ll shoot for about the same amount of training this time around.

Mount Evans. Epic.

On Saturday, I rode Mount Evans from Idaho Springs with a group of friends. Mount Evans is one Colorado’s many 14,000 ft peaks. (And one of only two, I think, with a road to the top.)

This really was one of the rides from my bucket list. (No, I don’t have a real bucket list, but I certainly have a list of rides I want to do. Sometime soon. Long before I die!)

The ride went well. Not fast. (I’m never fast.) I did finish the climb strong, and I’m really happy with that. Overall, the climb is 27.5 miles, and 6,700 feet. It’s hard to not call that epic!

Here’s the data on Strava. It took 4:20 to do the climb (plus 1:40 of waiting, resting, socializing and eating), and about 1:10 to come back down. There were eight of us in the group, making it a nice social ride. At Echo Lake on the way up, we had two long breaks, pigging out on hot chocolate and cinnamon rolls. And we had another long break at Summit Lake. Dan G. put a bunch of pictures up on picasaweb.

And here are a few of my own.

Neil and Mike, and Alma on our first little break about half way to Echo Lake.

Randy and Mike take off.

Dan G. serving up one of many cinnamon rolls.

Neil, Randy, Frisco Dan, Don, Alma and Mike.

The road as we pass tree line at about 11,500 feet. Some of the cracks had been improved upon by marmots. I almost ran over one sticking his head out through the pavement.

Here are Randy, Dan, and Don approaching the first switchback past Summit Lake.

At the top!

Above 14,000 feet! The real summit is about 100 feet higher, but none of us wanted to hike it in our cycling shoes.

Neil and Frisco Dan got to the summit well before us. They had decided not to wait at Summit Lake. I passed them near the top when they were on the way down after waiting up there for a half hour or so.

Arrival shots of the second summit assault group:

Don.

Dan.

Randy.

Alma and Mike.

And here’s one more shot of Dan in front of the rather weird shelter. (An old building burnt down in 1979. The new shelter is built in and around its remains. It’s actually rather cool.)

USA Pro Cycling Challenge

After 23 years, top-tier professional cycling is back in Colorado. It’s been a long time since the Coors Classic/Red Zinger Classic bicycle races. It’s been nice watching the Tour of California (and the Tours of Georgia, Missouri, and Utah), but bicycle racing belongs in Colorado.

The days of Lemond, Hampsten, and Phinney are a distant memory. The days of Leipheimer, Hincapie, Zabriski, Vandevelde, Danielson, and Van Garderen are now. And those are just some of the current top Americans.

I had a great four days of following the tour around the state. OK, really, I just stayed in Breckenridge for three days and came home Sunday morning for one last quick view of the finish in Denver.

On Thursday, my friend Steve and I went to watch the Vail Time Trial near the finish line.

We rode our bikes over Vail Pass from Copper Mountain. Despite what they said on TV, the finish line was about 1000 ft below the summit of the pass. Still, that made for quite a climb for them in 10 miles. It was really impressive watching how fast these guys could climb. But the suffering on their faces was even more impressive.

Here’s a shot of Levi Leipheimer on the climb.

I put a few good pictures of the stage up on Picasa.

Friday morning, we drove to Avon to watch the start of the race to Steamboat.

This was far more fun than I expected. We got there to watch most of the rider sign-in, which included lots of interviews. Many of the riders were also signing autographs for the fans. The crowds were not too bad, so it would have been pretty easy to get an autograph if I’d been so inclined. (I wasn’t.) Here’s the rollout:

From US Pro Cycling Challenge Videos

I also put a bunch of pictures up of the sign-in interviews and such.

Saturday, the race finished in Breckenridge. We decided to go for own bike ride in the morning around Dillon Reservoir, up the Swan Mountain Road climb, and back to Breckenridge. This climb was being billed on TV as a big deal for the stage. It really isn’t all that hard. The descent off it doesn’t seem like much either. I’ve done it a bunch of times. On Saturday, I hit 42 mph on the descent. Andy Schleck was leading the race when he did the descent and hit 68 mph. Holly crap, that’s fast!

We met up with some friends from the Cycling Boulder group I often ride with. Here’s a bit of the climb showing Alma, Kenny, Steve, and Eric on his EliptiGo:

From US Pro Cycling Challenge Videos

And me and Steve at the top.We got there long before the crazy crowds, though you can see that there were still many people who’d camped overnight. There were also lots of people writing words of encouragement on the road in chalk.

Once we got back to Breck, we had some time to kill, so we made a quick stop at the Breckenridge Distillery Tasting Room.

And, of course, we took a few passes through the Expo.

This was a great stage where Andy Schleck really went for it, winning the most aggressive rider jersey after the stage. I didn’t get many good shots of the race, but did manage to get him leading the pack around the final curve onto Main Street in Breckenridge.On Sunday, the race finished up in Denver. I thought it would be ending around 3pm, but it turns out that it was closer to 1pm. Consequently, we only got to see the last two laps through Denver. But I brought Tim and Emily down for this. We at least had a good time hanging out at the Expo after the race and got lots of free swag.

Here’s the main pack coming around near the end of the second to last lap. I’m impressed how close Levi is to the front. He was obviously taking the day seriously. (He’s third wheel in the picture. There’s one rider out of the frame another bike length or two further ahead.)Emily and Tim had a good time playing with the Smash Burger noise makers.

While we didn’t have the best race viewing in Denver, the crowds were just outrageous. I’ve never seen so many people in one place. I’m so glad everyone came out. We already new the race was coming back next year, but if we keep getting crowds like this, it’ll be around for much longer!

B Strong Ride

Another weekend, another ride. (Actually, it has been a year with more long weekend rides, and fewer weekday rides.)

My friend Barry hooked me up with this ride benefitting LiveStrong (organized by friends of his). It’s the inaugural year for the ride. Apparently, there were around 1200 riders, though most must not have been doing the 68 mile mountain route that we did. They set a first year event fundraising record for LiveStrong of over $250,000. Cool!

The ride made a loop from Celestial Seasonings in Gunbarrel, up Left Hand canyon to Ward, and back through Lyons. That’s a pretty popular ride around here. It was fun riding with Barry most of the day. We tried hard to keep our pace reasonable on the climb, and made good time on the decent to Lyons.

However, about half way up the climb I met an ambulance and a bunch of people stopped on the side of the road. On big rides it’s all too common to see an ambulance attending a crash, but I’ve never seen one on a climb. In this case, a rider who had passed me not long before (in distinctive Cervelo kit) had had a heart attack. A race organizer was there and grabbed me to help direct traffic.

It turns out that the very first rider to come upon the victim was an EMT with an emergency kit and a radio. The second rider to arrive was an orthopedic surgeon. This guy may have picked the luckiest place of all to have his heart attack.

I’m not sure when they started, but I soon noticed that they were giving the man CPR. (I don’t think they were doing it when I first came on the scene.) CPR is more than a little surreal. It looks nothing like the movies. It was nothing like I remember from training in high school. Giving chest compressions is violent. This man’s (dead) body shook like a huge lump of jello. That sounds weird, but it looked even weirder. It wasn’t long before they stopped. I thought that he really was dead and that they’d given up. I also thought that I heard one of them say “I’ve got a rhythm”. I didn’t believe it at the time, but I think now that I heard correctly.

It was quite a few minutes before they got him into the ambulance. By the time they did, two more had arrived, and a motorcycle cop and a fire truck. They had a hard time figuring out where they could get a helicopter in to medivac the guy out. I was quite surprised that none of the emergency personnel knew the area very well.

In any case, they really did revive the man. I don’t know how his recovery has gone, but he was alive when he was taken away. The Daily Camera has some minimal coverage of it.

Later in the ride, as Barry and I were leaving Lyons, we hooked onto another group and let them pull us along for a few miles. Leading the group was a big guy with fanny pack full of medical gear. After a while, he apparently asked if someone else wanted to pull for a bit. There were no takers. Another of his friends said something like “Ah c’mon. Help him out. He saved a guy’s life today!” (Barry told me this after the ride. I’m not sure I could have done much of a pull, but had I known, I would’ve given it a go.)

Anyhow, mister EMT, thanks for saving that guy. I’m so glad you were the first to arrive, and not me!

And thanks for the pull!

Just Purty

I took a nice 35 mile ride this afternoon. This was the first weekend solo ride I’ve done in a month and a half. Kinda nice getting out alone, even in the 90°F+ heat. I couldn’t resist taking some shots. This is about 10 miles ESE from my house. The Indian Peaks are the jagged peaks left of center. They get their name because they look like feathers on the top of a group of Indian’s heads. Longs Peak is the tallest mountain in view, right of center. I wish I’d had a real camera with me, but this isn’t bad for an iPhone.

Courage Classic 2011

Another Courage Classic is in the books. This was the third year for me, and I don’t really understand why it doesn’t get any easier. I did actually ride a bit faster this year, but that’s nothing to write home about. Still slow. For completeness, here’s what I put up on Strava: Day One, Day Two, Day Three.

When I first rode two years ago, I did it as an excuse to ride my bike more. Knowing that I had a hard ride to do I would have to train a bit more seriously. I took a couple of weekends in the months before the tour and rode a few mountain passes (Cumbres, La Manga, Wolf Creek, Hoosier), around Summit County, and did more climbing on my local hills (to Ward, Jamestown, etc.).

I also liked the idea of giving some money and support to Children’s Hospital. I don’t have any direct ties to Children’s, but like most people, I have friends and relatives who have lost a child. It’s hard to imagine going through anything worse. I’m also glad to say that I know of others who’ve had their child saved by Children’s. It’s amazing that we rarely focus on that side of the picture.

This year was especially fun for me getting to spend some time with friends. I rather like sitting down to meals with strangers, and chatting briefly while passing people on the ride. (There are always a few people I play leapfrog with since I go fast downhill and slow uphill.) Sunday night was definitely fun sharing drinks with Evonne, Jay, and “the twins”. We won’t go into how much we drank (I don’t really remember). But I did manage to ride fine the next morning, so it can’t have been too much….

I didn’t take too many pictures this year. (Do I ever?) But here are the best of what I have.

This is the start of the tour in Leadville. I intentionally got a late start so that I wouldn’t be eating lunch at 10:30 like previous years. I was really surprised at how few people were at the start. Apparently, most people leave much earlier. (The parking lots were packed as always.) But it turns out that 8:45 wasn’t really late enough as I got to lunch only two hours later.

My plan was to meet Evonne and her group at lunch, so I figured I might as well push it. I didn’t stop at the rest stops except to take the next picture at the top of Tennessee Pass. I expected I’d either catch them on the ride or see them once I got to lunch. It turns out that I must have passed them while they were at one of the rest stops, as they arrived about 20 minutes after me.

We rode out from lunch with Marjorie leading us all the way through Vail. I was definitely impressed with pace – I certainly wouldn’t have gone any faster on my own. It didn’t help that I was reminded (by Margaret?) that the ride through Vail always sucks because of the heat. The heat was all I could think about during that section.

Finally, we began the real climb up Vail Pass. Below we have Evonne, Margaret, Walt, and Pat just after leaving the rest stop near the bottom. Notice the smiles!?

As the grade continued, we spread out along the road. I rode alongside Evonne for the first stretch. It was nice not pushing too hard, but that doesn’t mean it was easy climbing the 5% hill. We regrouped at the end of the road where the bike path starts. The sisters decided to do the last stretch together, so Pat and I headed out together.

We reached the top about 20 minutes ahead of the sisters. We had enough time to grab some drinks and download cowbell apps for our phones so that we could properly great them when they arrived. Here are Evonne and Marjorie arriving at the top.

The time was getting late, and I had a massage appointment to get to by 4, so I took off to climb the last few feet of the pass before coasting down into Copper Mountain. We had a nice dinner a few hours later but were all too tired to do much else.

I went back to my room and watched the Tour de France (nice job, Cadel!), before being treated to a fireworks show right outside my window. Most of them were exploding at eye level, and less then a 100 yards away. Very cool.

Unfortunately, it was really loud in the village even after the fireworks were done. I didn’t get to sleep until well after midnight, but had to get up at 6:30 to do the “century” ride.

This year’s “century” was just over 90 miles. There was another event going on in Keystone, so that leg of the ride was cut out. I made pretty good time, finishing in 7:22 (6:32 on the bike). That’s more than an hour quicker than last year, but the ride was 7 miles shorter. No rain this year either. (Last year I finished the ride from Breckenridge riding in a horrible downpour.) Still that last climb up from Frisco was a killer. I don’t remember it being so bad before.

After a long massage and a quick dinner, I met them all at the Incline for beer. Margaret was having fun getting me to match her drink for drink. She really should have taken our 80+ pound difference in body mass into consideration! It was great chatting with them all, and hanging out with Jay, my son’s band director.

The last day was a relatively easy ride 😉 over Fremont Pass and around Turquoise Lake. I managed to time my ride so that I met everyone again at the final BBQ in Leadville. Here’s Pat and Marjorie.

And here’s Evonne and her son Alex.

As ever, it was a fun weekend in Copper Mountain. I’m always reminded how lucky I have it. While I try to do some reasonable fundraising, this is still more of “just a” bike ride to me. For many people, the ride has much deeper meaning. They ride for friends and relatives who have been helped by Children’s. This is a chance for them to give back. I’m glad, at least, to ride along with them.