Monday, October 28, 2013

Bear Lake

It started with a small mechanical. I was riding Schwinn for my regular old lunchtime mental ride and I was noticing some trouble for the front derailleur to get up into the big ring. I kind-of made a mental note to myself to get that bike home and do some adjusting. As per usual I spaced it out and off I go on the next lunch ride. I'm about four miles out of town and it really feels odd. I look down and my left crank arm is wobbly and the bottom bracket is sliding back and forth. I limp it back to town pedaling with one leg.
This bike has an FSA Omega crankset with the threaded bottom bracket instead of the crankbolt. I know there is a technical name for this style but I just call it the threaded do-hingie. I get it on the stand and re-tighten up everything and think I'm good to go! I'm not even a mile into the next ride and it is all loose again....oh boy....bummer.
I get back home and this time take it all apart. There is a lot of trouble even getting the bolt out of the crank. You know when, with a sinking feeling, that  this is just not right as you force the bolt to turn out.

This is what I find.
Stripped! As I am doing some reading about these cranksets and how to install there is much talk about the torque on the bolts and to not overdo them....crap...why don't I ever read up about these things first??? Because I'm a guy?? There is a good chance I just over amped this the first time I tightened it up and stripped it. Fortunatly, FSA offers parts off their web site and I ordered two new bolts. Then the flood happened and it took a couple of weeks to get the bolts. I rode Ogre for those two weeks as my commuter and lunch rides and it sure was FUN!!!
I found some time to put it all back together last weekend. The crankarms went back on and looked to mesh up tight with the spindles that are on the bottom bracket. Thank you for not having those stripped and rounded over. Good thing I ordered two bolts. I thought I had everything all cleaned out on the threads but must have missed some stuff because as I threaded the new bolt in, about 3/4's in, there is that sick feel to it as it cross threads and strips. I will never get the thinking to have these aluminum bolts threading into a steel threaded bottom bracket. I know everybody is trying to cut weight every place they can, but c'mon, how much more weight really to have steel bolts? There was much fine wire brushing and flushing out with solvent by me on those threads until they looked new and clean. Some locktite on the bolt and with anxiousness I thread it all back together. My tutorial said to ride it and pay attention because you will probably need to tighten a bit on the first ride. I was also careful because of my first experience. Sure enough not a mile into a ride It was loose, but, a snug up and then about two more miles and then a little more sung up and I think I got it RIGHT!! A few more short lunch rides and no problems so I decide to head out for a little longer ride this weekend.
I have been meaning to do a ride up the Bear Lake road ever since they got the new construction finished. Off I go!
A couple of Aspen trees hanging on to their color much like I am hanging on to the last hope of a summer gone past.

Rolling up to the Park entrance had me working against a pretty good head wind that would stay with me all the way to the top.
I had this notion in my mind that the Park Service built this new road with zero consideration for cyclists and provided not even a shoulder. I found that there are sections that look like this
But there are plenty of the uphill shoulders that look like this
OK, time to stop worrying about the road and focus on the task at hand! My obligatory Longs Peak shot for all of you because that is what I have for you every blog!
On the north slopes there were some reminders of the snowy weather that we had about a week or so ago.
A spot to take a break a bit past Sprague Lake. I was feeling pretty strong for not having really pushed myself this fall on the climbing up into the Park.
Once you climb up past the Glacier Gorge parking space you know you just about have it knocked out with only one set of steep switchbacks to conquer. You are getting right into the base of trails that lead up to peaks. It is pretty up here!!
A little sit down at the top to eat my peanut butter sandwich and drain a water bottle and a Selfie!!
It is good to have confidence in your bike as it is time to bomb back down!! I just can't let it go because there are a couple of hairpin turns to get down those switchbacks, after those....away we go!!
I stopped for a picture of Morraine Park, it is a pretty special place with lots of memories for me.
This time of year it is great that a nice day happened to fall on the weekend so I can take advantage of it!
Hey!, Thanks for riding along with me!
Hope everybody has a great week!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Aspen Colors

I see that it has been almost a month since I have posted anything. A remarkable month of events and circumstances. For some people chaos is the new reality, for others, some minor inconveniences in their perfect routine lives. Like many communities we have an element of people that have a lot of money and get really upset when small things upset their lives, and the other side of the fence there are some young business owners that work really hard to have and build their businesses and homes, and have dealt with tough times to recover from flood waters.
For me? The flood was more of a mental exercise to keep a positive, move forward attitude. When natural disasters hit other communities, I watch on the news and feel so bad for the people affected and make the call to Red Cross and get a donation in, but, I have always had this arrogance in the back of my mind that "I live in the perfect place and nothing like that will happen here". That arrogance took a bit of a battering this last month. It does make me take myself down a peg and that is a sobering emotion to deal with. I have taken so much satisfaction with my crew here at Estes Park Lumber. They have worked hard to make things happen for people that need our supplies to get things rebuilt in their homes and businesses. We usually just motor along running our business for our customers but this last month there has been a feeling around here that we are really providing a service for our community. We work very hard at making sure our pricing is in line and competitive with national pricing and items are kept in stock through the complicated supply route into town. We sure have found out who our loyal venders are and really are interested in our business vs the venders that only did business with us because it was convenient for them. Noted for the future.

Enough about that sort of mundane stuff and onto the purpose of this post. Because of extra work and getting Debbie going back to work and her long stays in Greeley during the week, my bike time has been cut back. But, on Sunday I had a chance to head out to hunt down some Aspen Gold color watching, so off I go!
This is the scene on Friday. No commute that day! Pretty typical for Estes in the fall, a day of cold and snow and then the warm sun comes back!
I headed out on Ogre with the plan to climb up through Little Valley and see if I can get back into Pierson Park. I also had some curiosity of what had happened to Fish Creek Road. I had seen pictures but have not been down there to see it myself mainly because I had no business being down there. I rolled out my driveway and made it to the south end of Fish Creek. It was not to far down before I had to make a detour up and around a couple of roads in Carriage Hills to get around the road missing. There was a path walked out through private property around the cut but I did not feel it was proper mountain bike etiquette for me to ride across somebody's property.
The beaver damns and lodges that I have posted in the past going up Fish Creek are washed away. I hope the beavers made it through and are busy making new homes. I rolled on down to Little valley road. Aspen along the new Fish Creek are turning and pretty!
Working my way up Little valley their were groups of Aspen that were still green just starting to turn,
and some that were in full Gold status!

Of course the obligatory selfie of a guy out having fun on his mountain bike!

It turned into a beautiful fall day! I was a little overdressed at this point in that I wished I had shorts on, but so nice to be hot!
The views just keep getting better as you work yourself up to the top of Little Valley Road and it turns into National Forest service land. In fact, this is misnamed a bit I think. More like a climb up a mountain than a valley and there is nothing "Little" about it. Pretty steep road!
Nice view looking back
I chugged up to the top and here we are with a closed Forest Service gate. Normally they keep this road open until December 1st. I'm not sure if they have road damage above or if they just closed it so they don't have to think about for the rest of this year but I decided to just honor the gate and call it a ride. Plus the time was getting away from me a bit and I had a Bronco party to get to at Dave's house!!

Final view of Ypsilon Mountain from the top of Little Valley.

By the time I was back down and the few hills in Carriage Hills, I was gassed!! So really it was just the right amount of riding. It is always surprising how quickly you can fall out of peak riding shape. A month ago this ride would be hard but not leave me wasted back at home like I was today!!
I had a mechanical on the crank of my Schwinn that I am waiting on parts for so I have been riding Ogre as my commuter and what a pleasure it has been to ride. I guess that is the fun of having a few bikes in the stable so when you switch, it is like riding a new bike again!!
Hey!, everybody have a great week and Thanks for riding along with me!!!