Monday, May 21, 2012

Last Rites (er, I mean Rides)

Before I get into the pics n such, just a quick mention of those two tiny bike races. The Tour of Calif wrapped up today, and I wasn't there. Z-man wasn't able to hold on to the top spot...someday Dave...someday. Still a great performance!

And as for the about Ryder? He lost the pink today, but he's still in the hunt in 2nd place. With his awesome Garmin squad I think he can do it. And speaking of Ryder, anybody remember when Sara Best interviewed him (via  phone if I recall) so long ago on the ORIGINAL home of the Asylum (My First 100 miles)? She had great things to say about him, and he sure is living up to that. (We miss you Sara!)

OK..on to the topic of today's post (my LAST from here in Colorado Springs). I have a bunch of  pics from my last 2 rides here in the Springs. I fly home on Tuesday (HOORAY!!!!) and can hardly wait! Just have to survive one last work day. The bike goes to work and will end up back in box for it's trip home. The weather once again was less than optimal, which is just amazing as it was in the 70's and 80's all last week, and the news just said that today (Monday) will most likely be a record high. All I know is that it rained on me Saturday and was quite chilly. Sunday was SUPPOSED to be much nicer, but alas it was not.

On Saturday I ended up diverting from the high mountains (due to the nasty weather predicted) and finally rode the Falcon Trail located on the Air Force Academy. It was a pretty amazing trail (13 mile loop) that was rarely flat...either climbing or descending, and LOTS of work.

 Here's a panorama of the mountains. You can see the low-level clouds, I estimate them to be at about 8000' (the high point of today's ride is about 7500').

 This is where the cadets live, and is off limits to visitors. Pretty fancy diggs!

A bit over half-way around the loop is a trail offshoot that takes you to the North Gate where there is a B52 on display. WOW! I've seen a lot of aircraft in my life, but this is the first impressive!

 What an amazing plane...the plaque said it's bomb payload is 60,000 pounds. That's a LOT of bombs! The B52 was the backbone of our Strategic Air Command (SAC) for decades!

On the trail was this cabin. 

The Beverly Hillbillies...NOT! Pretty tiny....I guess they didn't entertain much.

You can see my GPS track (in red on the left) and how close I came to Falcon Stadium. This shot is a Microsoft satellite photo taken from my Garmin track.

An A10 Warthog. This is a's a HUGE Gatling gun with an aircraft built around it.

And finally a T38 (thanks Pez for the correction, I mistakenly called it an F16),  wearing the clothes of the Thunderbird's. This model was used between 1974 and 1982 (after the disastrous training exercise when 4 of then slammed into the ground).  And the local news just said that the Thunderbird's will be performing today at the Air Force Academy graduation
(credit Wikipedia for this info:

Sundays ride was heading up HIGH towards the summit of Mt Baldy. The storm that came thru on Saturday dumped new snow up high, lucky me. But it was go for broke or don''s my LAST ride.

This is my objective. Stupid storm, there was almost NO snow as of yesterday. You can see the road slanting across that I eventually climbed.
Note: this picture was taken thru my windshield, which is why it's such a sad and out of focus shot. Also of note: no animals were injured or killed during the taking of this photo...did I mention that I was driving at the time?)

 Gold Camp Rd, still quite low (about 7800'). Down here it's not too shabby!

 Target in sight, dead ahead. There's my road again!
Above 10,000 there was a LOT of this. Slush and melting snow. My bike is now a mess btw.

Nearing the summit. This side of the mountain is facing the sun so the snow is already melted. (this is the road you can see from town).

Looking at the actual summit of Mt Baldy. I didn't do the final road as it was still snowbound, and I was out of gas. The altitude here is about 11,900' and I was gasping for air as I climbed. On the right is a survival barrel in case a storm moves in while you are up here. I did the summit road 3 years ago when it was much warmer (the current temp is about 42F as I took this shot).

The view looking back over Colo Springs. 

 And my final shot...a pan of Stratten Reservoir (or lack of a reservoir...3 years ago there was a fair amount of water in here). Pikes Peak is just to the right of this photo but not quite visible.

And that wraps up my rides, and my trip. I'll be home for just 2 days, then Jeannie and I fly to Virginia to spend a TOASTY WARM Memorial Day weekend with her brother on the farm. I'm racking up some Frequent Flyer miles this year, that's for sure.

OK..have a great week everybody!

Oh....also after posting I checked, and now something is obviously messed up in my design page as there is ' once again text' intruding into my pictures. I have NO IDEA how to fix it, but I will be looking at it when time permits).


  1. Matt, you are the traveling minstrel this year! At least next trip will be WITH Jeannie. Hope she remembers you....

    It always disturbs me to be on trails where they have to have emergency survival shelters! Yikes. Those storms do really come up quickly in the mountains though. Last time we were camping way up in Rocky Mtn park I remember that we always hiked in the morning because there was ALWAYS a lightning storm every afternoon, not to mention hail, snow, etc.

    GREAT week last week for racing! I was willing DZ up that mountain with all of my might, but he fell back to 2nd again. Was also out of my seat cheering for Jens/Chris Horner when they were driving that break. Awesome move! That was an exciting day, but really Sagan just mopped the floor with everyone during every stage but that and the TT. Crazy good is that boy. I did love to see how thrilled Gesink was with the win after his horrible year last year. He was just beaming.

    Oh, and GOOO GOOO GO GO GO GO Ryder!!

    WHAT is going on with Johan and Frank??? Any insight Cathy? Trouble in paradise there it seems. I love so many guys on that team - I hope they get things worked out before the Tour...

    Have a great trip Matt!

  2. No trouble with text alignment for me, Matt! and beautiful shots as always. I am always in awe of the size of those B-52s.

    Great racing last week: happy with 2 podium places for Garmin, but sure do wish Horner could have placed better. What a shame he had such bad luck last year when he was on the form of his life!and Yeah, Jens!! The stages might not have compared to European climbs but the peloton obviously made up for that by racing hard. The only sad thing was seeing Robbie McEwen retire. He caught my attention early on with his obvious joy in the competition, and I have missed his ability to mix it up in the sprints--but he never seemed to get his magic back after that fracture.

    Hasn't this been an exciting Giro? Really hope Ryder can pull it off--what a coup that would be for Garmin! Such a beautiful race!

    Is JB just trying to create a little drama and publicity for the team? I can't imagine why else he would say the things he did to reporters--unless he is trying to protect his reputation as an manager in the face of poor results (but look at Irizar--not too shabby!)

    Happy holiday everyone, Sweet remembrances to all


  3. OH, CANADA! Can you beLIEVE it?! YES!

    So happy for & impressed with Ryder! Wow oh wow! At the beginning of the season when I'd read he'd been picked as Garmin's GC guy for the Giro, I was HOPING & thinking he might be able to finish Top 5. And then he started out so great I thought MAYbe on the PODIUM! Now, goodness gracious, BARACUUUUUDAHHHHH indeed! Whoo-hooo! I watched about the last 20-30K yesterday & today online here & I was on the edge of my seat! And when Ryder pushed past Scarponi in that last bit today, it was so damn exciting! Gd*MN Universal Sports/Comcast! I want to SEE this race on TV! I will now have to come in here tomorrow so I can at least the stage online!

    I'm also happy for Kreuzinger today as he was TRASHED by his D.S. a few days ago & his entire career seemed on the line, so good for him. And we thought Johan was a bit mouthy about Frankie! (More on this later).

    When this Giro started, my MAIN concern was that CVV would make it past Stage 3! And then that he stay upright for the rest of the race with NO broken bones! From the little I've been able to see, he's been doing great as Ryder's main helper. I'm thinking this sets him up great for the Tour, which I think is a good course for him this year. What do ya'll think?

    And now, a little shout-out to our favorite Canadian, with a little help from the Doors :

    "Ryder in the storm
    Ryder in the storm
    Into this sport he wuz born
    Into this race he wuz thrown
    Now ridin like a dog sniffin a bone
    He's one of 9, so not alone
    RYDER's in the storm!"

    Go RYDER! Go Garmin! :) :)

  4. And I agree with ya'll that I don't understand Johan's "tactics" at the moment. Unless he feels the relationship with the Schlecks is ALREADY trashed & burnt/can't be repaired, I don't get it. 1st, he's keeping Kim Anderson out of the Tour & I'm sure the Schlecks are NOT happy about that & now, Johan's harsh rebuke of Frankie leaving the Giro. Plus, apparently, Johan writes a column for 1 of the Euro newpapers & he's continued the critizing of Frank & the entire team there. True, this year has been a DISASTER so far as results, but how does trashing your team in the MEDIA help matters? Maybe he's just stressed from the probable ranting & raving of team owner Becca. From what I read earlier this year, that Becca guy is completely NUTSO about results & in my opinion, these results couldn't be happening to a more "deserving guy".

    Well, hope everyone has a great holiday weekend & if you're an Olympic/Tour fan, load up on SLEEP as you will get almost none for 3 months straight starting next month when all the Olympic Trials get goin! The last week of June will be especially insane with the Swimming & Track & Field Trials AND the start of the Tour!

    Take care everybody! Hope you're having fun on the East coast, Matt!

  5. RYDER!!!! Beautiful race. CVV did a fantastic job for Ryder - especially on Saturday - and made it through the entire race :) Here's hoping that this is just what he needed to get him ready for July (June actually). I'm optimistic because I do think that this course suits him better than others. Wish they had a TTT though. But back to Ryder....he was so amazingly calm, cool, and collected while he shocked the Italians day after day. What a brilliant race. JV must be beside himself! That team has come so far in a short amount of time.

    Speaking of Garmin - I was also thrilled to see that DZ will remain Captain America for another year. He looked so great in the ToC that I thought he'd have a super chance at another title. Did you see the pic of DZ on the podium with Teejay behind him with a terrible scowl on his face? Wow. He was really ticked. I'm sure most 2nd place riders are really ticked that they didn't win --- but he needs to learn to hide it a bit better. And today Timmy Duggan gets a reward for all of his tireless work as a domestique! Everyone seems to like that guy and most seem thrilled for him.

    I do not understand WHAT is going on with Johan and alienating his team. How is that beneficial to anyone? Is it just a power play? "I'm in charge and you'd better learn to like it"? Can't figure that out at all.

    You're right Susie. With all of the pre-olympics, early Tour and Olympic games we are going to be sleep deprived for sure! We had a week of free Universal this week, which was awesome so that we could catch the last of the Giro. It makes SUCH a difference when you can watch the stages. Huge difference. Wish I could buy that channel a la carte....

    Hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day! HOT here and we continue to be a couple of months ahead in the growing season with harley any rain this spring. Not a good sign for my state and the farmers. I'm assuming you had a fun trip Matt?

    Missing the Giro already. HOW many days til the Tour?? ;)