Okay, you know how you plan to do something and then it goes a different direction. I would have bet you a ton of money that I would have been road racing over the Labor Day weekend. I knew/know that I needed the speed work to prepare properly for Chequamegon in a couple weeks. But, I got selfish and am still in Steamboat Springs riding MTB bikes. The riding the last two days has been difficult. Pretty slow, technical climbing on used trails. Today we’re driving a bit North and doing a 5 hour ride. I’m a little hesitant, but game. I fell once yesterday pretty good. Good enough that I’m super stiff today. I flipped over the bars at the bottom of a steep pitch. I sort of intentionally did this so I didn’t run into a 2 foot erosion gully. I landed pretty good, but my bad shoulder is worse once more. I think I just have to get used to it. Okay, here are some photos from yesterday. We’re getting an early start. At least early for me.
Hi. By the hits here, a lot of people are very interested in how Dale Stetina is doing. I went out for a long-ish MTB ride here in Steamboat, out of cell range, and when I got back my phone and email was slammed with encouraging messages and calls from newspapers, tv and radio stations, asking about Dale. I’ve been in contact with Wayne Stetina pretty much all day and he has been handling most of the media stuff. Wayne is very good at compartmentalizing things in times of craziness it seems. He just sent me a link to a twitter account that will be doing updates often. This will be the best way for the family to give out current information that they feel is appropriate. Click here for the link to Dale’s twitter account. Wishing the best for all involved.
I’m finally packing up and heading back to the lowlands. I’ve been at altitude for a little over two weeks and have enjoyed most every minute of it. Yesterday I did another longish MTB ride outside of Steamboat Springs with Kent and Katie Eriksen, plus 3 of their friends. It was a little over 4 hours, with a bunch of fun climbs and descents.
I’ve pretty much only ridden off-road since I drove to Park City last Monday. It was the longest period I’ve ridden a MTB bike for nearly as long as I can remember. I was a little rusty at first, actually, I’m still a little rusty, but most of the skills came back pretty much.
It is amazing how fast you can ride off-road on bicycles. I am truly amazed every time I finish a ride that my bicycle could hold up to those harsh conditions. I’m hitting huge rocks with a ton of momentum and can’t believe I don’t flat. I didn’t flat the whole week and I rode a lot. I only fell once during the week too and didn’t get too hurt. I was thinking about how unlucky or lucky you can be riding bikes. The 4 hour ride gave me a good chance to think about Dale Stetina. It is great how riding bikes can help you sort out mental and emotional issues.
I’m not sure where we rode yesterday. It was a little outside of Steamboat Springs. There was a ton of beetle kill, plus a forest fire burned a lot of the area. But, it was still awesome. Strava here.
Descending off-road fast takes a lot of practice. I think I was thinking too much a few days ago and not just letting my bicycle go down. I forget that you don’t really steer your bike downhill so much, you actually lean to initiate turning. Being loose, snakey, relaxed on a descent is truly the way to maximize your speed and allow yourself time to recover before the next climb. It is a very important part of racing off-road.
Anyway, I might just keep riding my MTB, on the road and off, the next couple weeks until Chequamegon which is two Saturdays from now. The position is a little different and you pedal different too. Maybe it will help some. I am so under raced that I might have to try something new.
It’s about 10 hours back to Topeka from Steamboat I think. I hope to ride sometime this morning, either in Steamboat or with my friend Vincent in Silverthorne. Then get back to the heat of Kansas.
In case you were doing something fun today and not watching bicycling TV, here is the last 1.5 km of today’s stage at the Tour of Spain.
Yesterday I didn’t really get very far. I went down to the shop to get my road frame and my cross bikes. Kent wanted to put in a headset and fork. Then he needed to make my seatpost Di2 ready. He had machined some super cool plastic inserts that hold the Di2 battery, but needed to adapt the seatpost to the insert. While we were down there, my friend Phil Gronniger, who was racing, and winning the Steamboat Stage race stopped by. It was cool that we happened to be there.
So, I got kind of a late start out of Steamboat and was told the traffic on I-70 would be horrible trying to get to Denver. Vincent happened to be in Silverthorne, so I stopped there and we went for a couple hour MTB ride. It was really nice, pretty hard, and we just got back before it started raining, which is always nice. Lisa, Vincent’s wife, made us a nice dinner and then we headed down to Denver a little after 8 pm. The traffic had cleared pretty good by then.
So, now I’m in Arvada with still a full day’s drive ahead of me. That’s okay, I kind of like driving. I have a bunch of stuff to do in Topeka since I’ve been gone for over two weeks. I’ve avoided a bunch of super hot weather, which is great. I can’t believe that it is already September.
There are only 5 riders left to go, with Chris Horner starting last. This is a pretty important day for the overall GC so it should be interesting to watch. Click here for the links.
Dale Stetina is responding to nurses commands. Very, very good news for him. Here is the link to his updates.