Monday, March 31, 2014

Just Enjoying!

When I get to this time of the year any old ride is welcome. As always, winter drags on so when a nice day pops up on a weekend we go!

A rare sight this year.....calm on Lake Estes as I pedal around the lake heading for US 34, Big Thompson Canyon, and eastward out of town. About 37 degrees but NO Wind!!
I was heading for Ft Collins to meet up with Kyle at his apartment. He had some things to do up here in Estes so I planned a shuttle ride back up in his truck.
If you want to see how the flood changed the canyon it is best to travel by bike so you have a chance to look around. There are places with little change and places with dramatic change. For instance here the water took away a large chunk of the mountain. That created a lot of material crashing downstream which caused so much havoc for the homes that were below this. Damaging most and completely wiping away some.
The Kiewit company has done a fantastic job of getting our road open and useable. They are a great company and now I am so happy for Matthew that he has accepted a position with them when he graduates this May.
I'm pretty sure this guy would have room for one more bike somewhere in the back!!
 I toodled on down the road. I was out pretty early so there was not much traffic going down, I was able to really enjoy the ride and looking about instead of just focusing on my rear view mirror to see what was overtaking me. I was also peeling layers and beanie. Big temp change between my house and the front range.
Got to the Narrows. It is hard to believe that the flood water was up to the road level and flowing over the top. It also dug the bottom of the river channel a little deeper. Considering that this has happened twice in the last 38 years it is now easy for me to see how geologic time works to create canyons.
I pop out of the bottom of the canyon into springtime world!!
They put up these signs after the flood and I am super irritated by them.
First off....No Shit!!! When do we not "Ride At Your Own Risk"
Why doesn't CDOT  put up a sign that says something like: "Bicycles may be present, Motorists Proceed With Caution"
Everybody shares the road and is looking out for each other, would be an ideal world.
I have had motorists mention that they interpret this to mean bicycles are not allowed. The reality is that since Kiewit  has worked on the road, it is actually better for bicycles than it was before flood. I can just see the ass hat after hitting a cyclist explaining that it really is not his fault because bicycles are not supposed to be on the road and the cyclist is riding "At His Own Risk"
Just pisses me off....
Alright, I'll get off my soapbox.

I turn off US 34 and head north to Masonville and climb up into Horsetooth for a little repeat of last weekends ride. It felt good to be hot and sweaty on a ride again. If I would of had some more bike storage on this bike I would have brought shorts and t-shirt.
I love the geology of this area. This band of red rock pops out of the mountain all up and down the front range. I know from way back when I took geology class that it has something to do with The Dakota Hogback formation. Another college class that I should have paid more attention in!!! I just thik it is cool the way the red rock drives out of the mountain and is a feature.

I was out of water because somewhere a water bottle bounced off my bike that I did not notice, but this was the top of the last climb before winding around the south end of Horsetooth reservoir on the road you see on the other side, and down to Ft. Collins.
I see now in the picture with the big earth mover I am missing a bottle, so I must have lost it early coming down the canyon. You can see up above the road over there the MTN bike single track. They have a system of MTN bike trail in and around Horsetooth that I will try sometime with Kyle.

That's it!! A good ride, about 3 hours of saddle time. Slowly building that saddle time for the long day ahead in Santa Fe!!
Everybody have a great week!

Friday, March 14, 2014


One of the blogs I just started following is Chasing Mailboxes D.C. Mary has tossed out an end of winter challenge of riding your bike to take care of 12 errands in 12 days and has appropriately dubbed it "Errandonnee". She also has the popular Coffeenuering event that I am just finding out about and will attempt next year when it comes about.
Anyway, I am going for the Errandonnee and here are the rules I must follow to be a qualifier:
There are 11 categories of types of errands and a rider must hit seven of the categories, and, no more than two trips in one single category, i.e. you can't just rack up 12 trips to the coffee shop. Well, you can, but only two will "count". There is also a rule about needing 30 miles total to run your 12 errands. This will be a non factor for me as it is a 5 mile trip into town for me plus some of my errands will occur during my lunchtime rides which are 10 to 12 miles. My other goal that I am adding on is to get all three of my bikes involved in this. Different bikes for different errands/tasks

So, this post will be a bit stop and go because I will post my pictures and errand rides as they happen day by day, but just this one post to send to Mary to qualify.

#1 - 03/07/14
My morning commute to work but before work I head to Kind Coffee for a nice decafe before heading over to work. I am posting this in the coffee/dessert category because sometimes I ride into work with out stopping for coffee because I am pressed for time. Supposed to snow today.
What I learned/observed- My Kind Cup fits snug in my holder and keeps the coffee hot for the one mile jump to work.
4.2 miles my house to Kind Coffee

#2 - 03/07/14
Lunchtime ride that ended with a lunch meetup with my buddy Howard. I am putting this in Lunch category. Just beat the snow storm rolling in
What I learned/observed- Lunch is way better when you have a sponsor!!
10.1 miles Estes Park Lumber to end at lunch place. not counting the 1 mile back to work.

#3 03/08/14
A bit of a surprise visit from one of my boys, Matthew, up from Ft. Collins decided to come for the day. It gave me an excuse to head to Safeway to up grade the dinner plan. It was going to be leftovers but a dinner bribe was in order to get Matthew to stay a bit longer.
It had snowed about 5" Friday afternoon into the evening but the sun was out all day Saturday for a melt on the roads.
My driveway is an un-rideable mud bomb.

All packed up for the return trip. As somebody else mentioned for their grocery runs, our Safeway store has no Bike racks.

 What I learned/observed - Two bags of groceries fit pretty neatly into my back rack commuting bag I use.
Mileage- 4.1 miles - Home to Safeway. I took the long way back around on US34, east side of Lake Estes Trail and hooked onto Fish Creek road for a total errand ride of : 10.2 miles

#4  03/09/14
Last fall a group of people formed Estes Park Cycling Coalition. Because of the flood I think things got off to a slow start for them. They have monthly meetings. Because of my Basketball commitment I have not been able to attend. I think their purpose is to raise bicycle awareness in our valley, advocate for trails and lanes on our streets, plus a social arena for rides and fun get-togethers. Since our basketball season ended last Friday I can really start involving myself with all things bike! They had a meet-up to celebrate the beginning of daylight savings time on Sunday, Visitor Center at 4:30. I put this in the category of Community Meeting. Off we go!!

Nice group! All ages we represented from about age 10 up through Me! Mountain bikes, some cross/hybred types, some pretty nice roadies, and me on my LHT representing the touring genre!!
What I learned/observed-- Pretty nice people that just want to make a better community for and with bikes!!
Miles-- My house to meet up spot--4.1 miles

#5  03/10/14

Monday morning and it sure has an early feel to it due to daylight savings. I am going to get a few errands rocked out today as it is supposed to snow again tomorrow! First errand is going to the simple ride into work category. It was light enough that I did not need my front headlight but I set up and turned on my rear blinky just so the cars coming up on me on Highway Seven can see me.
Hoo-boy being out early is paid off with a beauty of a sunrise. Damn!! This is the way to start a Monday!!

What I learned/observed-- Daylight savings made me find and mount up my rear blinky light.
Miles-- Simple commute in on Highway Seven--3.9 miles

#6  03/10/14

My home laptop computer has been acting up, I think it is the keyboard. The computer repair shop is only about a half a mile up the hill on Highway Seven from the lumberyard, so, over to Bill during my morning coffee break to see if he has a fix for it. I packed it in this morning in my commuter bag on the rear rack on the LHT so I tossed the bag over my shoulder and rode my road bike up there to drop it off. The straps are too long on that bag and it catches on my saddle. Look out!! I almost crash because with it caught I can neither stop or get off the saddle to put feet down. I really hate riding with any kind of pack or bag on my shoulders but I just thought no big deal just a half mile up the road plus the road bike does not have a rack.
Bill says no problem, he will look at it next morning.
What I learned/observed--Reminded myself how much I dislike riding with anything on my shoulders.
Miles--short trip, Lumberyard to computer shop, 0.5 miles

#7  03/10/14
This is the case of two errands in one trip. The bank is right next the computer repair shop and I had my daughter's Tax return checks to deposit into her account. I did ride across the parking lot!! Both this and the trip to the Computer repair shop go into the category of stores other than the grocery store. No event or story here....just an errand!!
What I learned/observed---It felt a bit strange taking a picture of the Bank. Like some security official would come running out wondering why a picture.
Miles--0.0  It was right next door to the errand run to the computer store.

#8  03/10/14
Many of you know that part of my deal is that I coach Boys Basketball for the High School program here in town. Our season ended, as always so suddenly, with a loss a week ago last Friday Feb 28th in the league tournament. As part of our program I also take care of the stats and enter them into Max-Preps for Colorado High School Activities Association. I got all this finished up and needed to get our team scorebook back to Our Head Coach who is a teacher at the middle school. So part of today's lunchtime fitness ride included a swing by the middle school to drop off the scorebook. It was a nice day out even with some pretty good wind rocking out there. Blowing because a change is coming tomorrow with some snow. So, all the more reason to get all these errands finished up today. I am putting this into the wild card category.

What I learned/observed--I put new tires on my road bike last summer going up to 32's from 25's. They are so much better handling the winter shoulder sand from snowpack roads all winter.
Miles--I stopped by the school near the end of my lunchtime ride, 5.8 miles

#9  03/11/14

It was supposed to snow overnight and today. There was a little skiff of snow on the ground at the house this morning, but none on the road, so off I go for the morning commute. We'll just see how the snow thing develops during the day. There was none in town. Maybe it will just be a National Park thing and stay up on the divide!! I got out early so I am heading for Kind Coffee and the second of my coffee category errands. It is OK out this morning, colder than it has been but the snow storm is not here yet! The earlier time means wildlife is still active crossing the roads before the sun pops up. A big herd crossed in front of me on US 36 heading over to the nine hole golf course. Thought I would get a pic of the stragglers on my way for a cuppa, then roll back to work!

 What I learned/observed-- Heads Up!! Elk and deer are still moving about in the early morning hours even for bike commuters.
Miles-- Home to Kind Coffee- 4.2 miles

#10  03/11/14

I am fast!! I am so fast I can out bike snow!!
OK, maybe I embellish the story.....
Tomorrow is my oldest son, David's birthday. He lives here in town and works as a Civil Engineer for a local firm. For lunchtime ride today I head over to The Estes Park Mountain Shop to shop for a birthday present.
I am putting this errand into the Bike Shop Category because not only are they a full mountain shop with ski/snowshoe rentals, a climbing wall, fishing guide service, but a full bike shop. I bought both of my Surly bikes, LHT and Ogre, from them. They do a nice job for all things outdoors! If you wish to come to Estes Park and ride but can't bring your bike they have nice rentals.
Anyway....It just started to snow as I rode into the parking lot. I picked out some nice rain gear for Dave and got ready to head out. The storm was coming in from the northeast. I headed southwest towards home on up Fish Creek road. Beat the snow home. Ten minutes later it was blowing and snowing pretty good. I drove my truck back to work for the afternoon......
What I learned/observed-- It is good to be flexible on plans of when and where you ride to avoid bad weather approaching!!
Miles-- Lumberyard to Mountain Shop--2.7

#11  03/13/14

If you notice these sort of things, I have a 24 hour gap between errands. You faithful readers will remember our hero (Me!!) out-biking the killer death snow-storm home on Tuesday afternoon. It snowed like crazy for about 20 minutes....hmmmm. The next morning it dawned clear, but very cold. About 8 degrees. I totally wimped out and drove into work. It did turn nice by lunch and I got my usual health, lunch ride in, but no errands.

Lunchtime buds sharing the good life!!
Okay, enough fun......back to the Errandonnee and #11
The corporate guys, our President and VP of Operations wanted to come up for a visit. We are working on some remodel ideas for the front of our store and they wanted to see the ideas we are proposing. We also planned a breakfast meeting with our best contractor customer, 7:00 AM, Egg &I, here in Estes Park. I will put this into the Breakfast category.
Remember when I said it was dark enough at 7:00 to use my rear blinky light?? At 6:35 it is full light set-up, dark.

We had a very productive breakfast meeting. The guys wanted to get right over to the yard before heading back down the hill so I blasted out of there and hot pedaled back over the the yard before realizing that I forgot to take a document picture. Oh boy.....I decided to ride back over there as part of my lunchtime ride and take a picture. Now this might me breaking the rules of Errandonnee, I put myself before the panel of judges.
You might notice that my commute ride in the morning was on the LHT where all my lights reside. My lunchtime ride is on my road bike that I take out for those fun rides. It could be the first time a single errand was completed on two different bikes at two different times!!

What I learned/observed-- I need a better mounting system for my front light. When mounted on my handlebars, my handlebar bag blocks it.
Miles-- 4.2  My house to Egg & I

#12   03/13/14

Here we are already on the last errand of the challenge. And, here we have the most mundane of mundane errands; the post work trip to Safeway to figure out the dinner thing. The store is always filled up at this time by worker drone types (like me!) doing the zombie-like shuffle up and down the aisles. "What should we have tonight??"
I am on the solo dinner plan tonight because my wife is working late. I was going to just toss in the towel and get Subway or something, but no, I can do better than that, so here I am. Plus I am bringing cookies to work tomorrow for a co-worker birthday. This will be my second entry in the Grocery store category.
 Shop it!!

Wait....They still have not installed bike racks since I was here on Saturday???

Yup, a small bag of food can fit in my large handlebar bag! Don't beat me up for the plastic bag, I did not pack a re-useable bag!
What I learned/observed-- A LOT of boxed frozen pizza goes out of Safeway during the post 5:00 work time!!
Miles-- 5.8 Lumberyard to Safeway to home via the long way up Fish Creek road

That's it!!!
Thanks for reading if you are still with this marathon of posts.
Final Thoughts???  I want to thank MG from Chasing Mailboxes D.C. for being the sponsor of this challenge. I had a great time keeping my control card. It was not too hard for me because these are the things I do on my bike anyway during my riding season. The challenge pushed me a bit to get the bike season rolling a little early which is good. It also pushed me to use my bike when I might not have. The trip up to the bank and computer store I would usually just walk and the trips to Safeway I would have normally ridden home and then drive back to the store so the challenge was a help in that. I did not get the night time ride in but I was out early enough in the morning to need lights. I had a goal to get all three of my bikes involved and I did although I only rode Ogre on the first day because I don't have that bike set up with a bike computer. I know I can get my miles off my smart phone, but, that would mean being smarter than the phone....which I am not. Next year I might have to spice up my errands a bit, for instance; today is Pi day and what an interesting errand to ride and get pie on Pi day to celebrate! (I'll still do that!!) And St Patrick's day on Monday brings all sorts of bikes and beer ideas!! But these are my 12, such as it is......
It was all fun and I hope that by posting this maybe the bike people I am friends with will try it next year. I will be back for sure!!

Tailwinds everybody!!