Sunday, May 6, 2012

And.....they're OFF!

Wow...the years first Grand Tour is already underway! I've totally MISSED the entire season (thus far). Phinney taking the prologue (or more accurately, stage 1 I guess), and Cav takes stage 2! Looks like the question of whether he will continue his reign of domination on a new team has been answered. And how cool for Taylor!  The pink jersey, and he's HOW old? That young man has BIG BIG things in his future!

And on a sad personal note, I'll miss this years Tour of California in it's entirety due to my current work-trip to Colorado Springs. However being as they are totally bypassing my part of the state, it's not such a huge blow. I'm still sad tho...will be the first ToC that I've not been able to go to at least one stage.

On a plus note, my trip here won't be totally wasted...I've ridden the Mt bike the last 4 days IN A ROW! My total is a measly 62.7 miles total, but that would be minimizing the SUFFER factor. I'm a sea-level guy, and all the rides here START at 6500' or more. To say I've been gasping for air as I climb would be an understatement! Also of note is that those meager 62.7 miles took me OVER 11 hours of actual ride time (not to be confused with elapsed time, which is much longer due to MANY MANY breaks). And I've climbed a total of almost 11,000' of climbing. Sure sure...that's not REALLY that much climbing...but again I remind you that I'm DYING on the climbs.

I've only been in town 7 days now...and I'm HOPING that my body has been reacting by becoming a little portable red blood cell factory. By next weekend I SHOULD start to slowly feel the effects of my acclimatization to altitude as the new crop of RBC's take about a week to mature (learned this from the many EPO doping scandals in cycling). However, I have to admit that what I'm hoping for (in terms of quantity) is probably a LONG way off from what I will get. But hey... beggars can't be choosey...I'll take any increase in my hemacrit and I'll like it!

And so...I leave you with a few pics from the last few days rides. As much as I miss Jeannie and the babies (and just being HOME), Colo Springs is a fun place for me to visit if the weather is good AND I have my bike!

 On the trail, that is Cheyenne Mt directly ahead in the distance (I mean the FAR distance).

 A view of Mt Baldy. You can see the road slanting across down in the tree-line. This will assuredly be a target before I leave (the top is just under 12,000').

Love this's a view of the Bear Creek trail (looking back up where I just came from). There are many 'scree-slopes' like this throughout the area..and it's quite exhilarating to come bombing down 'surfing' the's like riding with 2 flat tires as the bike is all over the place, and you just keep shifting your body weight around, keep your weight WAY back, and try not to shoot off the edge.

 Doesn't look like much, but this is St Mary's falls. I killed myself getting this far up what turns out to be a HORRIFIC trail for a bike. To say that this was a whole lot of HIKE A BIKE is an understatement. But I made it, and beyond.
 I had to cross this snow-field on the way down "Jones Downhill" trail. I had already climbed to over 10,000' up the evil St Mary's Falls trail to get to this AWESOME downhill run. Was it worth it? YES!
As I descended Jones, I came across this beaver pond at about 8800'. It's a quite scenic spot for sure!

The first tunnel on Gold Camp Rd (which is a 16.5 mile climb at around 4% grade). It was actually QUITE dark in the middle, but the road is butter smooth so you just keep riding 'towards the light'.

 Now THAT'S what I call a ROCK!

A view looking down the "Pipeline" trail. That is a very old clay pipe (it's exposed in many places, with more than a few parts totally missing). No idea what it's purpose was way up here in the mtns.

This is a view looking down trail 667 (part of Jones Downhill). It's a loopy swoopy bobsled like run in many places, bringing a HUGE smile to a tired face.

And with that, I bid you a good week!


  1. Okay, I am jealous.


  2. Hi all! Matt you are our world traveler here! Colorado is one of my favorite places in the world and your pics make me long for another visit. The feeling of the crisp mountain air coming off of a snow field....nothing else like it. BEST trails ever too!

    Garmin takes the TTT again!! It is great to see how thrilled the entire team was to see their young teammate in pink. Rideargyle posted that great pic on Twitter today. One of my faves for sure. Felt really sorry for Taylor Phinney though. He has been a classy representative of the US in pink the past few days. After that crash.....OUCH. Poor Cav. I know that some people think he is just getting some of what he's given out in past years, but that was a crazy a$$ move in the sprint by Ferrari. Just completely took out Cav's wheel. He lost a lot of skin and I was crying for him yesterday when he talked about crying in the shower while scrubbing that horrible road rash with a brush. Those guys are so TOUGH.

    Would be possible for Farrah now to take pink if he can win the sprint tomorrow - that would be something!I'm bummed that I can't get any TV coverage of the Giro. I didn't pay for the Universal online coverage this year because I have heard that people were having problems with it. Anyone have that working?

    I signed up at Velogames for a team - doing well so far! Sorry for the rambling today. Good thing this is the INANE Asylum!

    So is there a lot a beer to explore in CO too? ;)

    Have fun and keep posting Matt!

  3. Hi Jannan,

    I've had no problem with Universal so far, although I've only watched bits of 3 stages -- busy! I hope to be able to settle in tonight to watch today's stage.

    That crash was totally crazy, I've watched it a few times just trying to figure if Cav would have caught Goss. I think it would have been close but he would have! Still, glad Goss got the win -- he seems a great guy. And Cav seems able to perform just as well--having won yesterday.

    I do wonder what is up with Farrar--he seems to be really off his game this year--or is he just saving it for later? Do sprinters need to do that?

    I am always thrilled to see any Americans do well (go ahead, call me a jingoist) but especially Garmin.

    RSNT has a lot of my favorite riders, but doesn't feel as "homegrown" to me. Same with BMC -- despite having George, Cadel and Taylor P. (and you all know I love Cadel)

    Matt, I will be missing the ToC too, having to travel the 20th-24th for work. But I will be glued to the TV & it will be nice to actually see all of the stages for a change! But it is so fun to be at the race. I was looking at my pics from last year--one of these days I hope that I will be proficient enough to get some GOOD action shots!

    PS one of my 2 fantasy teams is up to 199th place! Wish I had a Giro-only team too! It is fun, isn't it?


  4. Hey Matt - can't believe you're away again! No rest for the weary. Or is that "wicked"? :)

    BTW, something weird is happening now on your site - your "About Me" section is overlapping onto some of your post. Both when I just view it onscreen & when I print it.

    I'm trying to get into the Giro but since I no longer have Universal Sports (HATE them & frickin Comcast!), & can't sneak too much here at work, it's not the same. BTW, isn't it just "marvelous" how NBCsports channel (previously Versus) values cycling? Yessiree - if the broadcasts of the few races they show were on ANY LATER, it'd be between 3-4 am. Except for Flanders & Paris-Roubaix, all the other races they used to show on Sunday afternoons (somewhere between 3-7 PM) are now relegated to whenever hockey is over. 11PM, MIDNIGHT, 1 AM, they don't care. Sorry, but it just chaps my a$$! Hopefully, I'll be able to see some of the TOC, but for the last couple years, the repeat show at night was only about 30-60 minutes & now since hockey is STILL going on, who knows if they will even broadcast a repeat show each night.

    Hope everyone is doing well. Janann - I was so worried when I read about your car accident! Did you get it worked out with the insurance company? Also, why wasn't your insurance company doing the talking with the other insurance company instead of you?

    Oh & speaking of car accidents - poor Levi! I'll be amazed if he can ride the ToC & it must be devastating for him. Especially since it starts in Santa Rosa this year! Hopefully, he'll be ok by the Tour & I THINK gda#n hockey should be OVER by then & NBCsports will actually show the Tour! (I don't really hate hockey, I'm just pissed at NBC-Vs).

    Gotta go. Talk to ya all again next week! Take care!

  5. Hey everybody...what a CRAPPY weather weekend we've had. Cold and rain. It was in the 70's ALL of last week, then Fri evening this cold n storm front moves in, and the highs are around 50 (down here in town) both Sat and Sun.

    Didn't even TRY to ride yesterday (Sat) as it was just miserable...this morning the sun was out so I quickly got up and about...hit the trail by 10am. It was nice at the start, but quickly started cooling off as I climbed. By the time I was @ 9000' it was holding at 52, which is cool but bearable. In the next mile it dropped down to 43, and I figured something was moving in so turned around. Rode thru sleet, temp around 41 for the next few miles, then it held at 42 all the way back to the car.

    I was a Mattsickle, frozen thru and thru by the time I got my bike loaded in the car and the heater on my poor toes and fingers. And of COURSE the forecast calls for 70's all week. Mother Nature is laughing at me pretty good this weekend. Not sure if I'll get to ride next weekend, that depends on how much work we get done this week.

    Home would be nice, but I wouldn't mind one more weekend in Cheyenne Cyn. Time will tell. Have a great week everybody!

  6. Oh..and Susie...I see that somehow the layout is all messed up (thanks for pointing that out, or I might not have noticed it)...I had added a new gizmo the other day (a link to my Strava GPS-rides report) started out up near the top (not on purpose) and I FINALLY got it moved to the very bottom where I wanted it...but it seems to have been the culprit of this current snafu..I've now deleted the thing, but at least for THIS post it's all messed up...I looked over the layout and all seems normal, so I'm hopeful the NEXT new post will be ok.

  7. Hi all! So glad you're back posting here, Susie!! I catch your comments on Rant from time to time, but have missed you at the IA :)

    UGH - the car accident - GEICO SUCKS! For the first week, everyone - including the police officer at the scene, body shop guy, my insurance agent - said that the police report was so cut and dry (her fault) that her insurance co. should pay out immediately. Once I found out they denied liability, my insurance co. took over, paid for everything (except the rental car grrrr) and now they have to fight it out with Geico in arbitration of some kind. They're still hopeful that they'll get my deductible back.....but who knows. Thanks for asking :)

    Yes, Levi's accident was horrible! I really can't believe that he is already racing again. wow. Did you see Chris Horner's interview on VS where he said Levi was playing possum and is probably coming into the race with some great form? I love Chris. We'll see what happens and whether he's proven true. Peter Sagan really knows how to win those tough stages, doesn't he? Even with an end of race puncture. That guy is amazing for one so young. Must be a little bit disheartening to be racing against him at the end of those stages.

    I was wondering about Farrar too, Rae - what the heck is going on with him? I do also feel that way about Garmin. They just seem like the "home team" to me over RSNT and BMC. I was thrilled to see a couple of their guys in pink this week :) Oh, my Giro team is ranked 50th right now - wooo hooo.

    Glad you're able to ride, but sheesh Matt - that is COLD!!! Mattsicle indeed! Here's hoping that some beautiful weather is coming your way.

    Just found out today that I have strep throat. Ugh. I really hate hate hate being sick. After I pick up the kids I'm hopefully going to head back to bed.

    Good to hear from you all!

  8. Hey JD..sorry to hear you feel bad...strep is nothing to mess around with. Also sorry to hear you are STILL fighting the insurance thing (if only for your deductible)...what a mess.

    The weather today was just awesome, of course. Only worked a 9 hour day...but still too late to get anywhere to ride (Co Springs is over 600, go out after 5pm to get anywhere would be horrid...I'd spend 45 minutes to go 10 miles and then w/ Pikes Peak immediately to the west I'd be needing to be back at the car by 6:30...tho it stays light later but bad shadows n such...not big at riding super technical trails in dim light).

    OK..dinner the good life (frozen microwave pizza in my little hotel-cave). yep...I"m just a party animal!

    have a great week everybody!

  9. Wow! What a day in the ToC (and I MISSED IT!) HUGE for Z-man! As much as I'd like to see Horner come back and get on the top of the podium, having Z up there in the middle spot would be pretty cool too!

    And tomorrow is the Big Bear stage...2 years ago I was right there on the side of the road on the climb to the highest spot of the day. ahhh...that was a fun day! But not this year.

    Only FOUR MORE DAYS to go...they just can't pass fast enough..I really miss my family!

    Have a great weekend everybody (and be safe out there...check out Jill's site to see how horribly wrong things can get in an instant).

  10. Hi, Matt.

    I'm catching up on Jill Homer's list, and just read about Keith's accident and your comment about biking in England.

    I'm curious, are there fewer bike riders over there that are rude and illegal as there are here? I think that's part of the reason so many drivers are so antagonistic towards bikes.

    On B52s, growing up in North Idaho we saw them a lot flying out of Spokane. The most amazing was while at a Forest Service lookout. We heard it and started looking up to find it, and finally saw it below us flying through a saddle, doing radar evasion maneuvers. I hadn't known that their wings flap a bit in flight!

    Fairbanks, Alaska