Thursday, November 18, 2010

My favorite (biking) memory of 2010 (so far)

A couple of days ago I was out drinking beer (what!?, you say) when I ran into someone I hadn't seen since May 29th. It might seem funny to know that the instant you see someone, but it stuck out for a lot of reasons. Seeing him triggered a thought about one of my favorite biking memories of the year.

Actually, I have had a lot of good biking memories in 2010, like crossing the finish line at the Leadville 100 while there was still an "11" at the front of the clock; some rides with my kids that stand out; a long training ride this summer when my legs seemed to have reached back into an earlier age of strength and endurance; a training ride on which Rider One came along on a day when he probably had better things to do and a nicer ride to join but he came to be supportive of the training slog I was enduring; winning a race - you get the idea. But the memory of May 29 stands tall even among these.

For those of you with a keen memory or a calendar, you will note that May 29th was part of Memorial Day weekend, and it happened to be the Saturday of the 24 Hour Race. I was riding in the Solo - Clydesdale - Daylight Only division. I happened to have placed first in that category (also last, but that is the problem with 1-person divisions), but the gist of it was that I rode for about 7 hours starting at noon. At the end of that time, I had covered about 84 miles and I was tired, but really good tired. That fulfilling, exhausted, spent but smiling kind of tired where it feels good to have ridden long and hard and then be done.

I had the particular good fortune of not only being done, but then pulling on some clean clothes and sitting down to eat a couple of slices of David's Pizza and drink a couple of beers. I was sitting down with a couple of friends who had ridden all day also and with some other folks, including MS (owner of David's and a great guy) and the guy who I saw this week, TA (owner of Bicycle Butler). TA had been helping on the 24 Hour course, crashed his motocross motorcycle and had a brace on his knee that night, but thankfully it wasn't stopping him from enjoying a beer and shooting the shit.

As the pizza oven at my back gave a bit of warmth as the evening cooled, the beer and pizza were wonderfully filling my stomach, and a group of friends were around BS'ing after a day of riding or hanging out in Riverside State Park, I had a feeling of real joy and satisfaction that I can recall with perfect clarity six months later.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thoughts on a rainy commute

I am really glad to be back on my bike. After injury, injury and illness, I had two months with one trainer session and one treadmill torture. Exercising an average of once per month just isn't a good idea for a lot of reasons.

I have had reasonably good reasons for not riding, but it is better to be riding. I have had weeks at a time that I could not ride my bike to work, because of hauling around kids, appointments in nearby cities, etc., etc., etc. My older son had to be at school by 6.45 am for the first seven weeks of school, which responsibility fell to me mostly (and I was glad to do it, honey!), but it was hard to watch seven weeks of unseasonably mild weather go by without an opportunity to commute on my bike.

On the other hand, after a long hiatus, getting back to biking by commuting is a great way to get going again. There isn't anyone pushing the pace, the distance is reasonable, and even when the hills make it obvious how much fitness one has lost, the duration of misery is short and the smugness of leaving the car behind is always a boost.

In order to extend my ride season, I needed to add some lights to those I had; some more blinky lights on the rear and a helmet mounted light on the front. It was nice to go into Two Wheel Transit to buy the lights because a) they have the lights together in a nice display, b) everyone in the shop commutes in the dark so they all have ideas, suggestions and practical information and c) you get to tap directly into Mechbgon's extensive lighting knowledge (

As I rode home last night, I was pondering my lights. The addition of the helmet light was GREAT and I was amazed at how lit up I was from behind with a seatpost light, a blinky light on each pannier and a blinky light on my reflective striped messenger bag. As I was standing in the shop yesterday considering the prices, I did decide that I would really be unhappy to be lying in a hospital bed because I didn't put a crowbar in the wallet and get enough lights, so I think I erred on the right side.

It did occur to me, however, that I have to ride my bike a lot this winter to pay for the lights simply through gas savings from not driving my car. I have a 10.5 - 11 mile roundtrip commute, but I also have a fuel efficient diesel. The lights will last for years, but it still made me wish that the lights cost less, the trip was longer, my mileage worse or that gas cost more. Any of those would assuage the guilt a bit faster. Until then, look for me riding a lot at night to justify my purchases. In the meantime, I'm just really happy to be riding again.
Rider Three

Friday, November 5, 2010

Race Across the Sky 2010

Here is my quick review of last night's premiere of "Race Across the Sky - 2010 Leadville 100" - I SAW MYSELF! I SAW MYSELF! I SAW MYSELF!

Sure, there was a bit more to the movie, but importantly, I SAW MYSELF! Oh, and also, I SAW MY WIFE AND CHILDREN AND MY BUDDY PW AND MY BUDDY PK AND I SAW MYSELF!

Of course, it's easy for the real message of the movie to get lost in the excitement. The message of the movie can be summarized as follows "Every person who rides the Leadville 100, from Levi Leipheimer in 6 1/2 hours to Rider Three is mere clicks of clock short of 12 hours, is a superior human to everyone else on the planet because of how tough and how cool they are. Also, the Leadville 100 is the toughest race, ever." Keep in mind, I'm not saying that myself, and I'm not even disputing how true it is, I'm just reporting the facts as I see them and I think that was the message of the movie.

Oh, there was also a bit about the human condition and overcoming struggles, but I kind of tuned out that stuff while I focused on watching crowd shots for a glimpse of my hulking mass puffing along somewhere. And my attention finally paid off.

Now, you may want to know where to look for images of Rider Three when you buy your own copy of the DVD. Well, this part is a mixed blessing. On one hand, if it weren't for this happy coincidence, then there wouldn't be any evidence in the film of my participation (I guess Levi's bulk hid me on a couple of early leader shots . . .). On the other hand, I have to confess that the reason I appeared in the film is that I reached the Twin Lakes aid station at the same time a grizzled 84 year old woman was being interviewed about her own ride and the difficulty of her husband battling Lou Gehrig disease. I would like to add this important caveat. While I rode the first 40 miles at the same pace as an 84 year old woman, I did manage to get ahead of her while she was focused on her film time and stayed ahead of her for the rest of the day, finishing well more than an hour ahead of her. Take THAT grandma!

And despite all of this, the movie wasn't perfect. For instance, they left out local two-time finisher DD and they gave my buddy PW too much screen time in a lingering shot on Columbine, but other than that, it was a great flick. I will be autographing copies and giving them to all of my family, relatives and friends for the upcoming holiday season.

And lastly, while the extras on the DVD won't include this feature automatically, if you just give me a call, I can come over and watch it with you and narrate my own running comments through showings over and over and over. It will be a little like Mystery Science Theater 3000, but if you ask Steev (not his real name, but cleverly changed to disguise his true identity) and my son, I got practice in last night leaning over one armrest then turning to the other offering my helpful comments and in-theater additions. Insightful things like, "Oh yeah, that was a hard part", "Wow, that part was really hard", "Oh my gosh, that part was so hard", or even, "Damn, I remember how hard that part was!" Should be good times. Get the popcorn going and let me know what time to be there.
Rider Three

PS - Make the DVD commentary honorarium checks out to: "Rider Three Foundation" Motto - Providing bikes for deserving and underserved populations of Rider Threes since getting the first check.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Let them eat cake!

Nice title, eh? No, I'm not channeling my inner Marie Antoinette (creepy!), but it's true that everyone loves cake.

I was over at Two Wheel Transit yesterday and Geoff mentioned that the shop is having a little pah-tee this coming Saturday. Hard to believe, but it's been one year since the shop opened with new owners.

To celebrate, they're supplying cake and cake-like refreshments.

The shop also has some pretty cool stuff in stock that's worth checking out. After the horrendous picture I posted last week (see the entry below this one) I'm planning to plunk down on a set of wool Ibex leg warmers. Cozy! And the shop has a screaming deal on a Dura-Ace 7900 gruppo. I need to leave that one to some other lucky customer though, tempting as it is.

For the wool knicker set (oh, wait a minute...) Geoff has an oh, so, sweet vintage Bob Jackson bike, resplendent in Campy Super Record on display, too. Drool-worthy.

Anyway, stop by if you have a chance. Bruce, Geoff, Tomas and Dave have done a great job this year, and have been great supporters of local cycling. And let's not forget Tom. He's the mechanic that all men want to be, and women want to be with.

Did I mention there will be cake?