Monthly Archives: September 2011

Steamboat Springs

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Yesterday we drove from Denver up to Steamboat Springs. We got here just in time for the final race of the MTB season here in town. The problem was that a crazy isolated storm blew in 15 minutes before the race and it was a deluge of rain. The race was cancelled. So, I went out of an hour ride up the time trial course for tomorrow’s race.

We’re staying at Kent and Katie Eriksen’s house up towards the hot springs, about 7 miles up the mountain. It is quite a drive here. It was super nice waking up in the aspen trees. His house is completely surrounded by an aspen forest. I’ll post some pictures tomorrow.

Sue and Trudi went cowboy boot shopping yesterday during the rain storm. They aren’t even close to cheap. More like pretty expensive. But I guess they are a lifetime purchase, so maybe the cost shouldn’t matter that much.

I’m racing a four day stage race here starting tomorrow afternoon. I haven’t raced in Colorado on the road for ages. It should be interesting. Tomorrow is a 6.5 mile TT, but I only have my normal road bike, so I doubt it is going to go that well. I’m just here for training and the experience, so it should be pretty low pressure. At least as low pressure as it can be on race days.

Katie and Kent are going to take some time off from building frames to ride this afternoon. That’s all I have on my agenda. Pretty nice day. Bromont is running crazy in the woods here, so he’s in dog heaven. Okay, I’d better get the day going.

Rishi Grewal lives here and is coaching the high school MTB team. I'm going to ride with him this afternoon.

Sue and Trudi trying on cowboy boots at F.M. Lights in Steamboat.

Kent putting hot sauce on a ice cream taco after dinner last night.

I hunkered down during the storm under this pagoda with this guy.

Labor Day Racing – Steamboat Springs

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I can’t believe it is Labor Day already. I’ve always done the Gateway Cup in St. Louis, but racing in Steamboat Springs seemed to be in the cards this year. I was already at altitude and Trudi was coming back through Denver for 3 days, so it worked out well.

Yesterday I went out and did a 2 hour ride with Kent, Sue, and Rishi Grewal. (And no, I didn’t find out what Alexi is up to.) After the ride we rode back to Kent’s place and went down to the Yampa RIver and swam. That was definitely the highlight of the day. The water was so refreshing. Bromont got into the mix and didn’t mind jumping right into the white water to cross.

So there is a 6.5 mile TT at 4:30. Now Kent says he might have some fast wheels and clip on bars for me to use. I’m not sure I want to go to all that trouble, but probably will. I had been feeling pretty good riding up at altitude, but ever since I’ve been in Steamboat I’m been kind of mediocre. Katie says it is bad allergies since they are harvesting all the hay here now. I don’t know the reason, but it isn’t the same good feelings as Silverthorne. I need to get some race miles though.

I’m going so for a ride this morning and mess with my bike later. There is a first Friday art walk in town this evening from 5-8pm. Got to get done with the TT quick to get to the wine tasting.

Kent and Katie's house up the aspen grove.

Another view from the side. The logs are aspen.

Welding a frame at Eriksen Cycles.

Rishi's training bike. (The Etto helmet isn't his. Just for the photo.)

Rishi coming out of the Yampa River. He thought the water was cold. Not compared to the lakes in Wisconsin.

We walked down the road towards the hotsprings yesterday evening. Here's Sue and Trudi checking out the storm coming in.

Steamboat TT – Friday

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I raced a 7 mile TT yesterday. It was crazy windy. Your start time was super important. Even in your catagory. The times were all over the place. I didn’t even average 22 mph. And was over 2:30 minutes behind the winner. I’m not good a riding time trials, but that is ridiculous. I don’t know if I had to ride in much worse winds than a lot of the guys that smeared me, but I would have not finished top 10 in the juniors. 15th in the Cat 4’s. And a 57 year old master would have finished on the podium in the Pro 1 race. I was 28th out of 48 in the Pro 1 race.

Scott Moninger beat me by about a minute. That was to be expected. But he was a minute and a half out too in 17th. A weird isolated storm was blowing in and the last 3 miles were silly. I couldn’t stay in the aero bars the last mile, it was so windy from the side. Chris Carr, from Boulder, won the race averaging ove 25 mph uphill against wind. He was the 2nd rider off, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t ride super fast.

I didn’t feel that bad. I haven’t really done an effort in a few weeks, so my lungs were hurt, which was to be expected. Kent Eriksen kind of hijacked my bike and put on aero bars and wheels. I was just going to ride Eddy Merckx style. I think it was probably faster, but I don’t know.

Anyway, there is a 90 minute circuit race up by the ski hill at 4 this afternoon. It will be good to ride in a group and do some jumps. I’m not quite acclimated, but that alright.

We went into town for breakfast this morning and there was a farmer’s market going on. I have been to a lot of farmer’s markets this past two months. Colorado and California seem to have the best in the country. At least the best I’ve witnessed. This one in Steamboat was small, but awesome. And super dog friendly. Dogs everywhere.

I think Steamboat only has around 10,000 people, but there are so many bikes. And most are made of titanium, with Moots and Eriksen being based here. It is insane seeing so many exotic bikes just parked around town. This might be the highest saturation of bikes/bicycle riders I’ve seen anywhere in the country. Someone told me that Steamboat was trying to be named “Bike Town, U.S.A.”, since it’s already Ski Town, U.S.A.

That’s about it for now. Bromont wants to go for a jaunt in the woods.

Dean Crandell starting me at the TT. Dean and I have been friends for decades. It was nice catching up.

I went for a ride in the morning before the TT up Rabbit Ears Pass. I turned around before the top when it started raining. The descent could be pretty fast. This speed was not tucked against a headwind.

Kent machined a front hub for this Mavic rear wheel, but had to fudge it alittle at the end with a seat clamp. It rode perfect though.

The farmer's market on Saturday morning in Steamboat Springs.

Swimming with Bromont in the Yampa after the ride Thursday.

MTB Elite Cross Country World Championships Results

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I just followed the MTB Elite Cross Country Results live. Todd Wells was in the 30’s and then when they posted the full results, bang, here he is in 7th. And JHK finished 12th. Pretty great results. Todd must of been charging those last few laps. Maybe when it started raining hard he was just that much quicker. It will be interesting hearing his version of the race.

Steamboat Springs Stage Race – Stage 2

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Yesterday was a criterium up by the ski resort here in Steamboat. It was a tricky course and it was pretty windy, which made the race a little sketchy. Lots of corners and a small hill to make it just that much harder. There is a lot of diversity in the abilities of the field here. There are only 50 guys, so there aren’t that many places to hide when the going gets hard.

The race started pretty quick. I don’t know most of the guys riding here, so it makes it difficult to read the race. A few moves went early and finally a 5 man group formed off the front. I was feeling just okay. My legs were good, but my lungs were a little at their limit. I felt better and better as the race progressed. The 5 riders break got up to nearly 50 seconds, but never really ever broke the back of the field. It was sort of hard telling if the guys at the front were chasing or blocking early on. Finally with 20 minutes to go, out of 80 minutes total, Nathan Wilson, California Giant Strawberry, went to the front and really put in a huge effort and brought the break back gradually. He was having a great day protecting his 3rd overall GC.

The last couple laps got going pretty good and the field was splitting up through the corners. I got up towards the front and eventually on the last lap got up into the top five. By the time I got up to Colby Pearce’s wheel, he had already took off 500 meteres out. I never closed the 5 bike length gap to him, but finished 2nd in the field, so 7th in the race. Jesse Goodrich won the sprint over Scott Moninger in the break, which only finished 14 seconds ahead at the end.

I’m here mainly for training and this race was great for that. It was a pretty hard race, but not that hard it was over the top. We had an average speed of a little under 27 mph, which was good considering the wind.

At noon we’re doing a 70 mile road race that involved a ton of climbing. Peter Stetina won the stage last year. My lungs are a bit toasted still, but should be better after riding a little. It is super nice out, with the highs in the 60’s, so a great day to race bikes. Should be fun.

Just around 50 riders in the field and 1/2 got shelled in the race yesterday.

There were lots of fast sweepers, that were tricky, on the course.

I was just ahead of the field at the end, finishing 7th.

Kent and I after the race.

Epic Road Race

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Man, the road race here in Steamboat was very hard yesterday. I don’t know how many feet of climbing we did, but it was tons. I didn’t know what to expect, but the climbs were much longer than I had anticipated.

I wanted to not miss an early break, so I went with about everything. I am trying to get some form for the Chequamegon MTB race in two weeks, so thought an off the front mission would serve me best. Very early on I got into a 4 man group that was going much too hard for me. I was pulling, but not great. I was way short of oxygen. I can tell I am at altitude and not acclimated when my forearms are gassed. And they were pretty much the first hour.

There was another 5 rider group about 30 seconds behind us and I talked my guys into waiting up for them after 10 miles or so. We were pretty diss functional after that. I thought it was because of tactics, but now realize it was because everyone was at their limit.

Eventually, Keith Harper and Brent Peters rolled off the front on a long downhill and kept going. I knew my group was done, so I bridged up to them on the next climb. I was riding okay, but no air. We kept going until we turned right to do the extra 15 miles that the other classes didn’t. And that was when it got really hard. These climbs were more like mountain passes. At least two of them were. And we had to ride them out and back.

I started cramping right when Nathan Wilson, the strong guy from the criterium the day before came motoring by. I didn’t even accelerate. It was 2 miles before the turn around at the top and my legs were firing all wrong. Scott Moninger came by next, alone, and bridged up to the front two. I was riding alone in 4th. At the U-turn, there was a group of 6 coming, so I ate something and waited. I was lucky that it was head wind climbing on the way back or I never would have stayed on. Colby Pearce was tail gunning the group because Scott was up the road.

I lasted until the 2nd to last climb before my legs completely seized. I don’t get this cramping thing. Here I think the reason was riding too hard with not enough oxygen, but I’ll never know. I was only off a hundred meters at the top, but it rolled mainly downhill the next 4 miles until the finish climb and I coasted most of that. Dean Crandell and Rishi were in Dean’s mini following our group. It was a little demoralizing getting popped so late in the race, but the damage was done.

I limped up the last climb and finished 9th for the day. I thought I’d lose way more time than the 4 minutes I was back. I moved up to 10th overall in GC, so at least I’ll take back a little prize $$$ for the weekend.

I can’t state how hard the course was. And we rode it pretty fast too. We were over 7 minutes faster than last year’s time. That race was won by Peter Stetina, Garmin, over Chris Baldwin and a bunch of other climbing professionals. I don’t think it is really fair to compare race times year to year, but I guess I just did.

I rode to and from the race, plus did an extra ride with Trudi, so had exactly 100 miles for the day. We got Bromont and went over to the river for a swim. It was a pretty good day.

This afternoon there is another 80 minute criterium in downtown Steamboat. A flat course. It should be a field sprint, or maybe Scott will ride up the road. I don’t know. I’m just going to see how I feel, I’ve gotten a lot of fitness out of this race already.

Results from the road race. Click twice to enlarge.

Limping across the line. No one seems too interested. Dean's little red Mini Cooper S in the background.

These guys were just wandering at the bottom of Kent's driveway yesterday when we were heading over to the race.

Trudi and Bromont swimming in the Yampa after the ride.

There are lots of cool houses here in Steamboat. They mix wood, stone and metal pretty well. This is one of my favorites.