East-Bound and Down

Forty-eight hours from now, I’ll be on the road, heading east and south to the great state of Arkansas. The winter slowdown is in full effect at the bike shop, so I’m taking the opportunity to go out and explore the Northwest Arkansas trails that I’ve been wanting to check out for forever (and visit with some family as well).

Last week was a bit of a rollercoaster. Wednesday morning, I was fresh out of bed and at least half asleep when I walked out the back door holding Indy in one arm. He’s got a handicap ramp built out the back door because he falls down/up stairs too easily, and it was nowhere in my mind at that point in time that said ramp might be covered in frost. I took one step, both feet slipped, and I landed violently on my ass and right hand.

img_0311

How violent? My landing broke the runner under that part of the ramp and hurt my shoulder pretty bad. On the up side, I didn’t fumble the dog. With all of the moderate-risk activities I’m in to, it’s the mundane things that are the most dangerous. Since shoulders have a lot of stuff going on, I decided I’d get to a doctor as soon as I could. The last thing I need is a nagging injury that turns out to be something serious.

Luckily, the x-ray was clear, and the doctor determined with some range of motion tests that it’s an anterior deltoid strain. I basically just stretch it and keep my activity level pain-free, and let it get better on its own.

img_0312

Picture unrelated. It’s just a very satisfying steertube cut.

Given my shoulder felt a little weak, I didn’t really want to go for a long bike ride on Thanksgiving. I instead convinced Matt that climbing Mt. Morrison would be a good idea. It’s steep and a little scrambly near the top…

img_0315

img_0317

Obligatory Thanksgiving Dinner photos-

img_0316

img_0319

Saturday, I celebrated my shoulder feeling a lot better by taking the Singlespeed to Buffalo Creek.

img_0326

I love the mountain biking in Colorado, but I also can’t wait to get to Arkansas.

On a somewhat unrelated but equally stoked note, Thursday night, I was extended an invitation to test for my blue belt in Jiu Jitsu. The coolest part about this is that December 1st is my martial arts “birthday” of sorts- It’s when I started training at UFK in Memphis three years ago. There have been a couple of breaks in there, but the journey is always ongoing. I’ll test sometime later this month.

img_0343

 

Going to Moab and Getting Older

If you go to Moab and don’t post about it on the internet, did it actually happen??!? I don’t want to risk it, so…

I posted before about winning the bike shop lottery, and that still holds mostly true. It’s not easy to find a shop where, around the beginning of May, you can just knock off for a few days and take a Moab vacation (Well, I could do that at 92Fifty, but that’s because it was snowing and whatnot).

I took Matt along for his first Moab experience. We rode the Slickrock trail on the first day since we only had the afternoon, and it’s a trail that’s both interesting/iconic as much as it is worth getting out of the way early.

slickrock

The next day was Porcupine Rim. The weather was spotty at best.

IMG_9386

As we climbed Sand Flats to the start of Lower Porcupine Singletrack, we experienced the whole range of sun, rain, and, as we entered the trail, a few minutes of steady snow. A desert snow storm at the top of one of the most famous trails around is a unique and beautiful experience. The trail was mostly hero dirt… also rare and beautiful. And fast. The Mach 6 is still one of the most fun bikes I’ve ever ridden.

It took most of Porcupine Rim to get my nerve for tech/chunder up after being on the trainer all winter. I was feeling brave by the time we were at the bottom, though. Rolling back in to town, we made a stop at Milts… another iconic Moab spot.

Day three, we finally had perfect desert weather. We rode in the Amasa-back area- up Hymasa, down Ahab, then up Amasa Jeep trail and down Rockstacker and Jackson. I had several small victories on Ahab where I rode spots that I remember walking in the past. However, I also made what could be considered one of the worst GoPro videos of Rockstacker, as I slid/walked down the most infamous droppy spots on the trail. I will say, though, I’m getting waaaaaaaay better at dealing with exposure and dropping off of ledges. There are some spots that I know I’ll get eventually. There are some that I’m OK with never getting.

Screenshot from the video:

Jackson

Since the weather had finally turned awesome, at the recommendation of the campground owner, we went to a local swimming hole following our ride.

IMG_9400

Overnight, the weather went back to crap. So, day 4, we didn’t get any more riding before we had to get to driving home. On the drive home, the clutch in my Impreza started to die. By the time I was getting off the interstate near my house, I couldn’t put the car in to gear without the engine shutting off. Luckily, I got to the house, and my car insurance has a great roadside assistance program. I paid all of $7 to have it towed to a shop… where I paid all of $1100 to have a new clutch put into it.

IMG_9406

That was a bummer considering I’d been shopping around for a new car and just hadn’t had the time to make it happen yet. I did eventually trade it in the day after my birthday-

newcar

I leave it to you guys to guess which one is mine.

My birthday was pretty rad all around. Not only did I get a sweet new car with the help of my parents, I am finally in a place where I’ve got some friends that are stoked to help me celebrate. At work, shop owner Steve gave me cake

IMG_9467

Afterward, we went to Mountain Toad Brewery in Golden and had a couple of beers, and another cake that my amazing co-worker Amanda baked at home. I am not misusing the word “literally” when I say, I literally don’t remember the last time I had such a great birthday. I have tried to remember, but I can’t. I have no idea.

P.S. Speaking of birthdays, Indy turned 16 a couple of days ahead of my turning 35. He’s quite the little dog fossil.

Turning 35 is oddly frightening at this point in my life. Before now, every year older is another year more awesome. That still holds true, but, as I look around, I know that most women my age are “settled” with socially accepted careers and families. Here I am, a divorced bike mechanic, seeking out whatever adventures may find me in ColorAdo. Fun? Yes. Do I feel like others are judging me? Also yes.

braaap

My early-life proclamation that I don’t want to have kids feels more permanent by the day.

I have no regrets.

The age thing mostly hit me when I was looking at the registration page for an upcoming jiujitsu tournament, and I saw that I’m eligible to enter the Master’s division. I probably qualify for the same in some bike races as well, depending on the governing body of said race. Other than some occasionally intense back and finger joint pain, I don’t feel old. I’m actually in super great shape… not “for my age,” but for anyone. I’ve got better abs than I’ve ever had, and I’m ready to tear up some XC races on the singlespeed this summer. Master’s class be damned.

IMG_9457

 

Mountain Ramblings

I almost don’t know what to write here.

Seriously… I’m constantly coming up with all of these deep thoughts and ruminations while I’m either driving to work or riding the trainer, then I finally get a spare hour to type them all out and I’m like, “uhhhhh… I’ll just post a bunch of cool photos from my phone.”

I wanted to write something deep about mountains, motivation, occasional depression, and my impending 35th birthday, but it’s hard to figure out how to combine them all in to one coherent post. I had it all figured out in a series of morning commutes to Boulder, but now the organization escapes me.

I spend a majority of my commute time on CO Highway 93. It parallels the Foothills between Golden and Boulder, and runs on the top of a mesa a few hundred feet above the surrounding cities, so the view is one of the most spectacular ones you could ask for on a commute. It’s a constant reminder of my time in the mountains last summer. I’m hopeful that I’ll get to repeat at least a few of those adventures this summer and maybe add a couple more to my memories.
I think anyone who reads my blog can relate, but seeking out things in nature that leave me awe-struck is like an addiction… looking for awesome moments. And, I don’t mean “awesome” like in a Ninja Turtles/Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure sort of way… I’m talking like the dictionary definition sort of awesome.

awe·some
/?ôs?m/
adjective
extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear.
“the awesome power of the atomic bomb”
…Like the time I narrowly escaped a lightning storm on Rollins Pass, or when I went up Kingston Peak and discovered wind that picked my bike up off of the ground while I was trying to hike-a-bike. They’re those times when you realize that there are places where, as much as they’ll never admit to it, humans won’t permanently impose themselves into because Mother Nature is still in complete control.
I’ll go back up there at some point, but for now, my adventures stay close to home so I can take care of little Indy. He’s turning 16 just before I turn 35. He’s still truckin’ along, albeit he’s equally as blind as he is incontinent, and he’s all the way deaf. He seems content to stay in his pen in the yard when the weather is nice, but I never leave him for too long. He’s at close to half of my Instagram feed if you want to see his cute old man-ness.
The other half is fun and interesting things from the bike shop. Since we just had a spring snow storm, this weekend was renovation time. I got a new and improved work space.
IMG_9347
IMG_9261
IMG_9345
IMG_9334
We’re finishing it up today. I’m pretty stoked.
Outside of snow days, my coworkers and a few dudes from the shop-sponsored team are doing Sunday morning Flagstaff rides from the shop. The climb up Flagstaff is wonderfully difficult. It’s steep and only gets steeper as you go up.
IMG_9295
IMG_9294
The riding out of Boulder seems to be pretty amazing. I’ll probably end up with some good pre/post work/days off road miles from up there. As much as I hate to admit it, it’d be rad to live in Boulder. However, like most mountainside cities, the cost of living there is way higher than what your average service worker makes at her/his job. Matt wrote a really good post for Mountain Bike Radio just the other day about what mechanics are expected to know/do vs. what they’re paid: MBR Opinion-What’s your Bike Mechanic Worth?
It’s frustrating and a trigger of more than one depressive episode. How? I recently pulled a calf muscle. I’d love to go to a one of the kickass doctors and PTs in this area. However, I have high deductible insurance. So, while I won’t go broke with a $3500 maxiumum-out-of-pocket if I were to fall off a cliff tomorrow, I’m definitely not spending my savings on a “luxury” like seeing a doctor for a pulled muscle. Luxuries should be things like weekly sushi dinners, $7 chocolate bars, and occasionally buying paper towels at Whole Foods because you don’t want to make the extra stop at King Sooper’s. Instead, luxuries have become things like “medical care” and “being able to live within a 20-mile radius of my workplace.”
Ugh.
I won’t complain too much, because I am doing what I love, which is more than what I can say about a lot of people who live where they want, have super duper health insurance, and frivolously spend $20 on paper towels at Whole Foods. Most mornings, I’m pretty excited to go to work. I feel that that’s a pretty rare state for most people.
Speaking of the bike industry, if you follow my Twitter account, you may have seen the recent posts about #pulleygate. Basically, one of our JRA listeners figured out that SRAM Ceramic Hybrid derailleur pulleys only have one ceramic ball bearing in them. We found this to be humorous, because, let’s face it- that technically is a ceramic hybrid… just not in the form that 99.9% of consumers would expect.
IMG_9270
After a few posts, Ed Nasjleti from SRAM (who I’ve know from back in the Team Kenda Tire road racing days), hunted me down and called me at work to discuss #pulleygate. Turns out, the one ceramic ball and six steel ball model isn’t a consumer-deceiving ploy to save SRAM money on ceramic parts… it’s to give you the dirt-grinding advantage of ceramic combined with the less frequent maintenance schedule of steel. He saw my point, I saw his, and we spent another 25 minutes discussing other random and interesting bike tech. It’s always fun to talk to someone who has been in to bikes since before you learned to ride one.
Skipping back to the pulled calf muscle thing (I told you I wasn’t feeling the organization this morning)- That happened a few weeks ago at the gym. I basically overdid it a few days in a row. My left calf kept being sore (but just like “did a hard workout” sore) until it finally got “limping” sore and started to develop a lumpiness to it just behind the tibia. I’ve had to back off to no Muay Thai practice (since that’s mostly bouncing around on your toes), and technique-only drilling in Jiu-Jitsu. Because of that, I’m not going to compete in the May 14th State Championship tournament I’d planned on going to. I need to heal up and rehab it before I go tournament speed on it.
57900659
It’ll be OK eventually. I’d just like to stop injuring the left side of my body, though. Two years ago it was my hamstring, now it’s the calf. I’m getting way too much experience with pulls and strains.
Despite the injury, bike training is still going pretty well (it doesn’t seem to bother the injury). I’m about to put the wraps on the eight week “General Build Plan” offered by TrainerRoad. I’ll re-test myself in a couple of weeks and figure out which “Specialty Phase” programs to use to peak for summer racing. I’m looking forward to smashing some singlespeed pedals in the near future.
P.S. I have no idea what sort of fuckery WordPress has done to make hitting the return key no longer put spaces between pictures and paragraphs. So, sorry this post looks like crap.

Ode to the Surly Crosscheck

Hop in your way-back machine and set it for the Fall of 2008. I was in the process of changing road teams (from Kenda to Metro Volkswagen), and I decided that I wanted to race a little cyclocross, but that I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a bike, AND I wanted something that could be flipped between fixed gear and singlespeed. So, I went to Bikes Plus in Germantown and got this:

I ran it fixed gear for a hot minute before I realized that riding a fixed gear sucks ass.

Soon after, I decided that I wanted to race a gravel grinder (way before they were as popular as they are now). I set it up 1×9 with some old Shimano stuff we had laying around the house. Before you say anything… I’m not really sure what was up with that stem. It was definitely before I understood the concept of “stack and reach,” and it also had a small-sized clamp, so I think I just wanted something longer than stock (TWSS), and that’s what was around the house.

1 x 9 muddy

In case you were wondering, that was the first time of many I raced (and had my ass handed to me by) Cary Lowery.

In the years following, it went back to being a SSCX bike. I rode it in a SSCX race at the National Championships in Kansas City (it was a non-championship race, and I raced against the dudes… and Betsy Shogren).

DSC_7868

…and later it became a wannabe mountain bike with a flat bar, a Kenda Karma 2.1 on the front, and some sort of small Bontrager “mountain bike” tire on the back…

IMG_1206

It kinda sat around for a while after that. I got really nice, pimped-out carbon cross bikes, placed 3rd in Masters Worlds a couple of times, then decided that having two full race seasons per year was no longer what I wanted to do. So, I sold the fancy carbon rides, and the Crosscheck was once again my CX steed. This time, with a plethora of “leftovers” from other bikes that had come and gone through the stable:

in

I raced it in one or two SSCX It’s basically in the same iteration now, except it’s got my I9 road wheels and a set of fat road tires on it. I use it for a good portion of road training and grocery getting now. For training, I’ve been riding it up Lookout Mountain on a 40×16. It’s a haul, but it’s been an integral part of getting ready for competition team tryouts.

I’ve alluded to it a couple of times, but, since I’m pretty limited on ride time and ability to travel because of Indy’s failing mental health, I’m pouring a lot of energy in to MMA at The Training Camp. Tomorrow afternoon, I’m trying out for the competition team. It’ll open up the opportunity to train and compete in Jujitsu, Muay Thai, and eventually, another go at MMA.

You can find bikes like the Crosscheck pretty easily now, but, at the time, there weren’t many of them. If you’ve got piles of random bike parts around your house, I’d highly recommend dropping a little cash for a frame and making it in to, well, whatever you want… as I have for the past few years as my mood, needs, and interests changed.

Adventures on Hold

Aside from a little snow on Christmas Day, the Holiday season came and went with little fanfare. I did go for a quick Christmas day hike up Green Mountain. It’s close to my house, and gives you one of the coolest 360 degree views of Denver and the Front Range.

North towards Boulder:

IMG_8864

South:

IMG_8863

East Towards Denver:

IMG_8862

IPhone pictures don’t really do it justice, of course.

The couple of inches of snow on Christmas day were a good excuse to bundle up and go for another fatbike ride the day after Christmas. I rode it down the Ruby Hill Park sled hill as a bunch of kids cheered me on then hit the South Platte River Trail before the snowplows got there.

IMG_8866

IMG_8867

IMG_8870

I’d love to take the fatbike to places other than the bike path… bringing me to the point of my post today. Since it got too cold to leave little old Indy out to wander the back yard, I can’t leave him alone for more than 2 or 3 hours at a time because he’s reached an age/level of dementia where he can’t go any longer without pottying on himself in his crate. It’s been hard… there are a couple of nearby winter bike races I’d love to go to and a lot of days where I’ve had the time and good weather to go up into the mountains and explore, but, in reality, Indy needs me more than I need to do those things.

It’s occasionally frustrating, but he’s been my best buddy for over 15.5 years now. I picked him out of the litter when he was the size of a gerbil and his eyes were still closed. I chose him over the others because, as I went through and picked each puppy up, he growled at me (a 2-week-old puppy growl is one of the most hilarious things I’ve ever heard, so I was immediately smitten). He’s been by my side through a lot of really difficult times in my life… more than any person I know. So, he’s 100% worth sacrificing a winter of adventures. I’ve got a lot more winters ahead of me, and he doesn’t. I owe it to him.

DSC01253

crouch

The ability to bring him with me has been the #1 condition of employment at my previous and current jobs-

IMG_7026

IMG_7693

On a less “my eyes are feeling leaky” note, please visit your local bike shop. Your bike likely needs a tune-up,  and by bringing it in, you’re preventing boredom that leads to desperate activities such as mopping, campy shifter rebuilding,

IMG_8884

and whatever the hell Brian is doing here…

IMG_8886

Oh yeah, and speaking of bike shops… everyone at mine got one of these at the company holiday party:

IMG_8899

It will likely see the sidelines of the gym before it sees the trail. I’m having a blast training MMA again. It’s definitely helping to maintain some fitness while it’s cold/dark.

IMG_8893

I have a lot of incredible training partners (one of which has an incredibly bony back that I hit my chin on when we were drilling takedowns/sprawls). Most of them are bigger and/or stronger than me, but I’m used to that from back when I started road biking and would go on the hammerfest group rides with the dudes who raced a lot. It was hard as hell, but it only made me better.
I’ve figured out that the hammering you get on a group ride is way more ego-driven than one you get with good training partners practicing MMA. On the bike, it’s very much wanting to inflict pain on your group-mates, drop people, and show off how much stronger you are than them. In the gym, when you’re doing it right, the goal is to make both you and your training partner better. You can train solo to be fast on a bike. You can’t train solo for combat sports, and you can’t improve very far past the ability of your training partner.

The saying at the gym is, “Together, we are stronger.” It’s a beautiful thing.

Snow Days

I’m pretty sure that the people who watch the weather in the Denver Metro area stay high on legal weed 24/7. Since it started getting cold, any time there’s imminent snow, there’s some sort of winter weather advisory. However, Tuesday morning, Indy woke me up at 5:30 to potty, and as I was stumbling half-asleep through the house to take him out, I wondered, “why the hell is it so bright in here?” Then, I looked out the back window and saw that there was a blanket of snow on everything.

Nothing like shoveling the porch at 5:30am in a snow storm to let your dog know you love him.

We ended up getting somewhere in the neighborhood of 8-10″ (TWSS)
IMG_8802

Lucky for me, I’d brought a demo fat bike home from work a couple of days before that. My original plan had been to go ride up Rollins Pass, but I couldn’t leave Indy alone for that long, so I ended up not going. I set out on some of the less-busy roads and bike paths near my house.

IMG_8807

IMG_8803

They snow plow the paths here. It’s pretty sweet. I did figure out pretty quickly that trying to ride through unplowed powdery snow is basically impossible. My take on fat bikes based on my 2.5 hour initial ride is this- no bike is great at riding in the snow, it’s just that a fat bike is the least sucky of all bikes to ride in snow. I’d like to try one on trail sometime this winter.

I think the flask is a pretty important part of the riding attire

IMG_8813 IMG_8812

Taking on Winter without going a little stir crazy has been a little bit of a challenge. Luckily, the weather usually isn’t too bad. Sometimes, I grab an occasional night ride after work.

IMG_8790

Sometimes, I work on my ground and pound.

IMG_8784

Working in a bike shop over winter is an exercise in keeping yourself busy/entertained.

I got to check out a SRAM ETap bike the other day. I like it. I’m on the last gen 2×10 SRAM Red right now, and it’s great. I’m going to hold out until ETap has been revised at least once and is available at the Rival level before I consider upgrading.

IMG_8786

Speaking of upgrades… I upgraded a Speed Concept tri bike the other day.

IMG_8642

If you don’t know what #onelessarmadillo is, you are missing out. Check out the Just Riding Along podcast on Mountain Bike Radio, and you’ll also hear about that, as well as the McSnuggie:

IMG_8785

Don’t listen to the podcast if you’re my mom.

Occasional Adventures

Obviously, my post frequency has taken quite the hit with the onset of a 40+ hour work week. I’m getting settled in to a routine, though, and likewise, getting settled in to a rental house after being somewhat “nomadic” for a couple of months when I had to make the transition from living/working in the mountains to living/working in Denver, then dealing with moving and working a lot. It’s getting better, though.

First off, don’t forget- I’m selling a small Jet9 RDO. In order to be competitive with eBay pricing, I’m pricing it at $1900, shipped anywhere in the lower 48. It’s still in the box. I’ve only taken it out enough to snap a couple of pics of the color (slate/black/yellow).

IMG_8663

As I alluded to in my last post, life now is days at Elevation Cycles in Highlands Ranch, riding when I can, and MMA classes a few days a week at the new (to me) gym. Weekend before last, the shop sponsored a work trip to Fruita. All three shops closed early on Saturday (and remained closed until Tuesday morning), and everyone rolled out to go west to the desert. Since I had Saturday off, I took full advantage and went to a jujitsu seminar with Andre Galvao.

IMG_8593

It was a great day of learning. Also, I had the privilege of watching two people get black belt promotions (the two dudes on the outside of the pic below). It was emotional… in a room full of really tough athletes, there was hardly a dry eye.

blackbelts

Afterwards, I loaded up the Subaru and started my trip west (somewhere along the way, I rolled over 100k). The desert scenery and riding never disappoints. We rode the Lunch Loops and Ribbon trails on Sunday then Kokopelli on Monday. Dave- the service manager/mechanic in at the bench next to mine, who could be mistaken for my older brother based on riding style, proximity to gingerness, and general surliness, rode the drop in to Horsetheif.

IMG_8614

IMG_8604

IMG_8616

IMG_8608

IMG_8605

IMG_8617

I am the only woman between the three Elevation shops (other than the lady who does all the important stuff like paychecks and whatnot). I definitely put some pressure on myself to prove that I could keep up with the guys. I feel as though I was mostly successful in that.

Work itself has its expected high and low points. Example-

High point- geeking out over rehabbing a classic old Pinarello with Capagnolo Nuovo Record-

IMG_8632

IMG_8629

IMG_8628

Low point- assembling a Speed Concept

IMG_8641

It’s like trying to assemble Ikea furniture without an instruction manual.

Saturday, on my day off, I went up to 92Fifty to get the rest of my stuff out of the bike shop. I took the opportunity to go explore the nearby James Peak Wilderness area at the end of Rollins Pass road.

IMG_8656

I’d passed the trailhead multiple times over the summer, and wanted to check out the snow and stuff. Hiking a trail in feet of packed-in snow was a lifetime first for me. I can’t wait to go back a little more prepared and hike up higher.

IMG_8648

IMG_8653

IMG_8651

IMG_8650

IMG_8649

That’s about all of my adventures for now. I’m posting pretty regularly on Twitter and Instagram if you’re in to those things (links over on the right of this page). I mostly stay off of my personal facebook page. Facebook has become a shining example of how terrible,  uncaring, and racist a lot of people are. I don’t want to waste my time confirming something I’ve suspected all along, so I quit really giving it much attention.

Work, MMA, and a Jet9 for Sale again!

Since my previous post, I’ve focused more on getting settled in to my new job and new house (signing a lease sometime next week to make it official. Woohoo!) With short days and cold nights, I haven’t been able to ride like I normally do. It’s going to take some re-adjusting to my new schedule in order to get back in to a routine where I’m able to keep some sort of fitness over the winter.

I did get out on Monday with Joe, the Rocky Mountain rep. He lives in the Ken Caryl area, which means he has access to the trails on the private Ken Caryl property.

caryl

overlook

Working at Elevation Cycles is good. Saying that my coworkers Dave and Brian are really good wrenches is somewhat of an understatement. I’d let them overhaul my bike before a race and not even check it over before I started. Also, the shop dog Ella is in love with Indy. She tries her best to get him to play, but since he’s 99% deaf and 85% blind, he just stares at her and shakes when she starts hopping around him and yipping. When he sleeps (most of the time), she comes back in to the work area to check in on him hourly.

ella

The shop is closing early on Saturday the 7th and will be closed on the 8th & 9th for a trip to Moab. It’s pretty rad to be at a place where we get a most-expenses paid trip to go ride someplace rad. Since I’m off on Saturdays, I’m gonna leave early in the morning and get an extra ride between here and there.

Outside of work and riding, my winter “stay active while working a bunch” plan is to get back in to the gym for some MMA training. I’ve never been as fit and felt as good as when I trained MMA, and it’s something I can do after work on most days of the week. Tonight, I’ve got a first lesson/evaluation at this place: http://www.thetrainingcamp.net/

I’m funding my winter of MMA with one of these:

The New Niner JET 9 RDO

Yeah… so, when I was taking photos of scratches on my Jet for a potential eBay buyer, I found some small cracks in the seat tube. They’re sending out a warranty frame in the colorway pictured above. If you’re interested in a small slate and yellow frame new and in the box, I’ll sell you this one for $2,000, shipped to your door (they’re on Jenson USA right now for $2,300). I’m going to also put it on various online swap meets through facebook, but if it sits for a while, I’d consider other reasonable offers before I put it on eBay. Email me andrea at brickhouseracing.com if you’re interested.

 

Getting in to the Garbage

Though I’ve been out of Memphis for 3.5 months now, I’m still getting involved with the stupid stuff that happens there. Namely, this: Stanky Creek Time Trial

If you click that link and read the race flyer for the Stanky Creek TT, you’ll see that women don’t get an actual race. They race their respective categories, against dudes. It’s not even about equal pay at this point… it’s the fact that there’s not even a WOMEN’S CATEGORY. The promoter could break a limb off a tree and write “winner” on it or find a pair of crappy socks in the LBS bargain bin… whatever. That’d be shitty, but at least there’d be some sort of recognition that yes, women actually exist, and sort of matter. A friend of mine from Nashville (part of the Tennessee Women’s Cycling Project) brought this up on Facebook and questioned the race promoter about it, and this was the response:

“It could be debated all day long and from all points of view, but we did what we felt was the most fair and the most economical. We would love your feedback and the feedback from all the women after the event and will consider it for next year.”

After further talking with the promoter, he admitted that the women’s categories are always a loss of money, so if she could find a sponsor herself, he’d make a women’s open time trial. I immediately jumped on the offer and put up the $60 required to make a ladies category. She told him that the money was gathered and that the sponsors would be Brickhouse Racing and Just Riding Along on Mountain Bike Radio. He then refused to put anything on the flyer that had to do with me. Apparently, we’ve had some sort of differences in opinion in the past (that I don’t know about). He later told my friend that he didn’t want her money and that he’d make a women’s open race without it, but they’d only get a payout if at least five women showed up. They’re still trying to work out an amicable solution, but she’s prepared to take the money and give it out herself, despite his wishes. 

That’s a load of garbage right there. I don’t really care about not getting recognition. I’m just glad that the women are going to get treated fairly, one way or another. We talked a little bit about it on a special episode of Just Riding Along with special guest, Amanda Batty.

Here’s my afterthought- Women’s categories at races may just add up to be another expense, but they’re soooo necessary. Think of it like this- if you’re a promoter, you wouldn’t NOT have portapotties at your event, would you? No. They’re an expense, but a very necessary expense. One that you expect to have. One that you plan for out of respect and comfort for the people who come to your race. I hate comparing women’s racing to a porta-potty, but THAT’S how necessary it is to have a women’s category at your race.

On a totally different note, at 4am this morning, I awoke to what sounded and felt like someone, or something, was stomping around on top of my RV-house. The noise continued, the RV shook, and I realized that there was a bear raiding the garbage cans that sit directly behind my bedroom wall. I looked out the window to see, no more than a few feet away, a large black bear was dining on a bag of garbage. He heard my window open and darted off with the bag in his mouth. A few minutes later, he returned for seconds. I yelled at him from the window, and he ran off for good. Black bears in Colorado are way bigger than the large dog-sized bears in Arkansas.

print

rv2

rv1

 

Creeping Spring

It seems like cool shit happens at a pace at which I can’t keep up with, blogging-wise.

Basically, outside of the shop hours, I’m riding either the back roads around Gilpin County, or I’m making the 30-45 minute drive to the lower altitude/not-snow-covered trails in the Golden area.

IMG_7254

Following the Sno-Ab snowstorm, the weather was nice again for a little while, then we had another small storm come through that dropped 3-4 inches of wet snow in the higher areas. Case in point- I went to yoga in Nederland, about 1000 feet lower in elevation than the bike shop, and the snow was melting immediately when I went in to class at 9:00 and was straight rain when I left class 1.5 hours later.

IMG_7236

Back up at the house, the snow had stayed steady.

IMG_7240

IMG_7233

IMG_7232

So, even though the weather seems to be slowly cranking over towards a Spring-like pattern, the trails up here are still a bit too snowy to ride. I went out on the road bike and showed Matt a fun pavement/gravel ride from the shop. He didn’t seem to embrace the thin mountain air in the same manner as I have.

IMG_7206

IMG_7207

IMG_7214

There’s another less road-bike friendly loop from the house that climbs towards Idaho Springs. I rode the short version early last week and hit the climbs pretty hard to see how I’ve improved since I first moved here. I’m doing about 15 watts better on average for the two significant climbs along the route. The snow was gorgeous, so I took a photo in the cemetery at the top of the long-ish dirt climb from Black Hawk up to Golden Gate Canyon Road.

IMG_7251

Thursday, Jon and I went out on a “let’s see how far this road goes until it’s covered in snow” exploratory ride. We actually made it all the way past where the snow was thickest and got back to some maintained roads. We tried to get to Idaho Springs from a long descent off the mountain, but the shoulder of I70 was closed for construction, and we ended up having to climb back up the 1800ft we’d just descended at 35-40mph. If this makes absolutely no sense, you can see the route/elevation profile here: https://www.strava.com/activities/295637310

IMG_7264

IMG_7263

This backroads-wandering mule is my current spirit animal.

IMG_7266

IMG_7265

Riding trails down the mountain is equally as fun as exploring and getting lost on backroads. I’ve met Matt (who lives in Lakewood now) a handful of times, and it seems we always end up riding the Apex Park trails. We mapped out one ride from his place to Lookout Mountain and back that took us up the Chimney Gulch trail and down the Apex trail.

IMG_7258

Along the way, he got too buck on too little air pressure and cracked his rear rim.

IMG_7259

That sucks pretty hard, though it did mean that he volunteered to play photographer since he couldn’t continue to get buck on his cracked rim.

IMG_7261

I met him and some of the other dudes from Wheat Ridge Cyclery Saturday evening for a “go hard, then stop for beer repeatedly” ride. It was short, and we were probably stopped for an equal amount of time as we were moving, but it was a good leg burner and downhill practice that netted me three downhill QOMs on Strava. It makes me even more excited to get the Mach 6 on order (happening this afternoon if everything goes according to plan).

IMG_7281

Sunday, I rode with Shane and Ky at Buffalo Creek (the same friends I rode Devils Backbone with not too long ago). The trail is tons of fun, and I’m lucky to have met some really cool people to hang out with.

IMG_7283

IMG_7284

Currently, it’s cold and rainy (but not snowy!). However, warmer days are trying to creep in a little at a time. Indy enjoyed the brief period of sunny/62 on Saturday in his pen behind the shop.

IMG_7278

He’s also made friends with Ky’s little doggie, Agnes.

IMG_7285

He plays as much as a little old man can (he’s turning 15 in a handful of days) before passing out somewhere in or around his bed.

IMG_7217

Just a few more days and I’ll be back in Moab for my first out-West enduro! http://endurocupmtb.com/moab-may-9/

Nervousness abounds.