Saturday, February 27, 2016

2015 The Year of the Bike

Another Fantastic Year 2015 just vanished!!! However  not without some amazing memories, lots of new friends and  3 Bucket List items checked off and a few other firsts. The year started out pretty normal skiing with a great trip to Wolf Creek chasing a storm and rolling the fatty on the Highlands Ranch East/West trails.

In January I found out that I did not receive a spot in the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike lottery for the 2nd year, however the next day I received a email from Lifetime Fitness with another chance to gain a spot in the LT100.  All I had to do was whip up an essay, with video as an opton,  I chose to do a video essay on why I should be selected to represent Lifetime Fitness is the LT100.

Regardless if I was selected or not I needed to start training as Bucket List item 110 riding Sir Ti up Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii was scheduled for 2 days before my 52nd birthday. I quickly realized that there wasn't any local options for long steep climbs due to the snow, so I headed west to Grand Junction and started riding around the Monument area, and I was in uncharted territory as I was riding a mountain bike on long road rides.

Great news arrived mid February "Congratulations! You have been selected as a winner and we invite you to represent Life Time – The Healthy Way of Life Company  at the Leadville Trail 100 MTB race on August 15th"  I was shocked and a little scared seeing I had never ridden in a bike race before, so why not just jump in and attempt the hardest MTB race in America, The Race across the Sky in Leadville Colorado.

I had another Bucket list item in April so I started training early in the year in Frutia and the Grand Junction area.

On my third trip west I looked down at my watch and realized that I only needed a few more miles to complete my first ever century ride of 100 Miles and on a Mountain Bike.

It was pretty funny I headed up the road and I was beyond exhausted and  realized that my current nutrition plan was not working as I was ready to crash. The last mile was in to a 35 MPH sustained wind and I was just laughing and feeling very happy knowing that in less than one month I would be attempting to ride to the top of Mauna Kea and I just completed my 1st ever Century ride on a Hard Tail 29er on the road. (Bucket List Item 110)

Before I knew what was happening it was only two weeks until departure to Hawaii and I needed to send my bike over to a local bike shop in Hilo.  My boss saved the day during one of my rants about it was going to cost a small fortune to fedex Sir Ti across the pacific, he said just fedex it from the office all you have to do is write them a check for the cost and Cisco gets a great discount, so from 2300.00  dollars to only 181.00 for round trip overnight delivery, my wine budget for my birthday just got whole lot better.

While I was training 10 plus hours a week, I was following my normal strict diet, I had yet to alter my consumption of Wine which was a good thing as an unexpected visit from Mr. Art Brown occurred during the Antarctic programs post season conference.

Nothing is more fun than dinning with Art Brown, I blame him for my all my bad dinning habits.

Well my departure for Bucket List Item 110 started and I had a feeling shortly after entering the Amex club in SFO that this trip was going to be a lot of fun, unlimited wine and the view wasn't that 
I arrived on Maui and checked into the Westin and went out for a run and thought I was going to die worst muscle cramps in my life, a few sessions in the hot tub, a massage and a new wonder product Mio pre/post workout cream.  A quick drive around the island, a few meals and time to fly to Hilo.

 As I look out the window I see my final goal riding up Mauna Kea from Sea Level, Many thanks to the Hilo Bike Shop I arrived my bike was assembled and ready to roll.
From the bike shop to the Hilo Seaside inn and then a quick drive up to the visitors center at 9200 feet just to check out what I was going to encounter the next day.

I had put a few request for services on the Craigslist for someone to follow me and take photos as I did a solo ride two years prior  up Haleakala on Maui and it was not fun, carrying enough food, water and cold weather clothing, I should also say that is was my longest ride ever on my trusty Niner Jet RDO. So after rejecting 3 or 4 offers from 2K to we'll do it for a 6-pack wanna leave around noon ;-)
I finally got a reply from Eric Leifer a tour guide on the big island and an very accomplished photographer for National Geo and Red Bull, a quick phone call and all was set. The scary thing was he was very silent and the first time I was going to meet him would be at 3AM at Ken's Pancake house just before my ride.

 My food had just arrived just before  Eric walked in, a big relief for sure and after a  large meal he followed me back to the hotel and we packed his old Jeep Cherokee up with my gear and bike as I wanted to start downtown by the ocean.
I have a tendency to plan, plan, think and rethink absolutely everything dozens of times during my drive up to the visitor center yesterday a million things went though my head, but at least I remember to buy a T-shirt.

 Everything ready for my ride

Let's get this Party Started Bucket List item 110, the first 4 miles were leaving town and just as I made the turn the sun showed it's ugly face.
During my drive up yesterday this section was all fogged in and was about 55 degrees, no such luck today no fog no clouds and it was quickly 80F.
A few more miles up the road there was a horrible section with no bike lanes and trucks just whizzing buy no wonder I don't ride on the road (before I bought my new gravel bike Feb 2016)
 WoW I looked up and there she was the summit the end goal "Prize" all I wanted to do is gain altitude quickly as possible the heat and humidity was just horrible and something I was not use too.

I just kept drinking and eating as I was still trying to learn what nutrition really worked for me as I started these longer more challenging rides.

 There was about 8 Miles of this just nasty Volcanic sandy gravel section just past the visitor center, that just sucked, I was even spinning on my MTB would hate to be on a road bike, oh I was the only one riding up today.
 Nice Reflection
At this point it just seemed like it would never stop
 Almost there at this point I knew I had only 975 feet to go, it was so funny it was one of those optical illusions, what appeared to be the steepest section coming up actually was flat and then I was on top the summit.
 A Little Big Island Snow, a few weeks prior the road was closed for a couple of days

A few Hero shots on top and I was ready to ride back down, but given the 300 plus cars coming up for the sunset it was just not possible so I packed my bike in the back of Eric's Jeep and we headed down. I had to take one more photo for my Old Navy Room Mate and dear friend Greg Nolan
See Greg even after 45 miles and 14,010 feet of nasty climbing I can still touch the ground!!!

The drive back to the Hilo Seaside seemed to take for ever, my stomach was cramping and I was not a happy camper to say the least. We arrived unpacked, I paid Eric and he left and said that I would get the photos in a few days.

I showered and walked over to the local bar for a few beers and then I crashed, I got up early packed dropped my bike at Fedex and flew back to my super comfy room on Maui, it was the 24th of April and tomorrow the 25th  I would turn 52 years young.
 I got up and ran up the beach for 6 miles, I was very surprised I wasn't sore at all, after a shower I was ready for a Birthday Breakfast which continued until my Birthday Dinner ;-)
Ok Bucket List Item 110 was so much fun and now that it was over I needed to get back to Colorado and get my act together and prepare for my first ever bike race the Silver Rush 50.

The real goal of moving up a few corral positions for the big one the Leadville 100 Bucket List Item 100 in early August.  I spent the next month traveling and training and even went up to Steamboat to the Moots Rally what a blast.

In early June I headed up to Steamboat for the 2nd annual Moots Rally, what a blast.

 I was pretty stoked keeping up with the pro riders and I was on MTB, however it was short lived at a little under 20 miles they were gone like I was standing still, I did catch them one more time for a brief moment.

 Memorial Day Weekend I got on the scale and I was still 224lbs and around 10 percent body fat. I immediately went into a panic and said enough was enough, no more booze and I needed to clean up my already clean diet even more.
So from 01 June on it was only lean meat, lots of sweet potatoes and veggies + coffee and water.

My training was going well, I was averaging 16 hours a week of lifting, riding and running around 170 miles average per week on the bike for the entire month of June, I peaked out at 22 hours 10 days prior to the Silver Rush 50.
 The Silver Rush some say is harder than the LT100 I would not agree with that, however the start sucks here is a video link to the start, you have to run up a ski hill with your bike, what a great way to start a race.

I couldn't of been happier with my performance other than I should of pushed harder on the outbound section, while I had attempted to ride the trail a few weeks before, with no markings we failed on a few key sections, so until the actual turn around I was very cautious to conserve energy.

 I finished and I moved from the White Corral to the Purple "As the Crowd Goes Wild" and what was even better during the awards ceremony I won a coin for entry into the LT100, since I was already in for this year it was good for 2016.

I drove back down to Denver on Sunday early and hit the gym right away and started thinking what was the best training I could do  over the next 3.5 weeks before the LT100. I had already ridden the entire LT100 course 60 miles at a time and figured that was enough ? I took a tip from one of the guys I met in Leadville and I started riding up MT Evans the next day, what a great ride.

I started each  in Idaho springs and began the ride up to the summit of Evan 28 miles and 6500 feet of climbing and close to home no hotel required, 3 times a week until the LT100.

Well talk about the jitters, but I had everything planned out to the second for the days leading up to the race, easy rides, massages, soaks in the Hot Springs and then standing in the icey river for 20mins.
 I so wished my bib number was binary ;-)

 One of my buddies Paul Murray was also riding and we set beside each other in the Rider meeting on Friday, I don't remember seeing that many FIT/Skinny people in one room ever, sitting there for the 1st time was very special.

After dinner I went to my room at the Super 8 and did a final prep for the next day

It was race day up at 3AM, Vitamins, eggs and Generation UCAN with Almond Milk, beet juice and only 2 espresso's

My buddy Kirk Salveson was my only crew for the day, everyone else that I would even consider to help  to provide the much needed motivation during the race was out of town.
Kirk is a pilot and got back into town the day prior and drove up just before the race, which also had me a little worried.
 WoW we couldn't ask for a better day crystal clear and not too cold

 Well talk about stomach jitters, 1600 plus people all getting ready to race, I had listened to each of Rebecca's and Fatty's Podcast a dozen times, read every possible blog & facebook thread on the race.

Now it was going to happen Bucket List Item 100,  It started and I was ok no wrecks and I felt good.
I was happy all the way to the bottom of the Powerline, a  100 yards from the bottom and someone passed me and went down and I had to avoid them and I went flying  ENDO shit, I jumped up and realized my bars had shifted, I sat my sun glasses down and got out my allen wrench about that time a race official walked up and asked if I was ok and YES he stepped on my glassed "Prescription" I lost it and just wanted to cry, quickly handed me his glasses and too funny almost a perfect match as they were prescription as well and I was off, I made it to twin lakes way before the cut off and saw Kirk for the 1st time and loaded up with food and liquids as fast as one person can work and I forgot my music for the climb that laid ahead. The Climb up columbine was not that bad until you reach the double track and the pro racers were coming down, it was Hike a Bike for a long way very slow and it was actually hot, I finally made it to the top and needed just plain water my mix may of been a little too strong.
Ok on my way back to the Powerline I hear someone yell my name, it was the race official, Oakley was a sponsor of of the race and he road a motor cycle back to town with my glasses and they had an identical set of Frames, WOW I had my glasses back, what a great guy!!!

I made it back to Twin Lakes no wrecks and felt pretty good, loaded up and again and was off, next check point was the pipe line and Kirk made it there,  I felt good and moved out quick.

When I reach the pipe line it was HOT it felt like a 100 degrees and I was already low on water when I start the long walk up as it was full of walkers no way to ride and about 3/4 of the way up I started to develop the worse stomach cramps ever. I finally made it to the top and was back on the bike, I was doing ok and begin the stretch home, it was painful and then I saw several riders performing CPR on a down rider he was blue and it just made me sick, there was dozens of people standing around and there nothing I could add and I continued on.

Once on the pavement I thought I was going to die if it was not for the two girls on the tandem with a boom box I think I would not of made it and all I wanted was the next rest stop as I was out of water. My legs felt like lead and it seemed like every revolution was harder and harder, I quickly realized I had less than a hour to finish to get a buckle and I took off and the next thing I knew I crossed the line at 11:44:10 and I just cried and Kirk was there to meet me.
I had completed many things in my life but this one was very special and I was choked up for a few hours.
Well my original goal was to finish in 11:59:59 to receive the small buckle, when I started this adventure it was just another Bucket List Item and like all once and done, well I had no idea how many amazing people I would meet leading up to this race, it's not a race it is a family and I was hooked, with a coin from the Silver Rush I was already in for next year and preparation started almost immediately as I will not settle for another small buckle, I want the big one and that means taking 3 hours off my time, new goal 8:59:59

Oh I found out when I took my bike in that my bottom bracket was partially ceased up on one side, no  wonder those revolutions were so hard!!!

The rest of the year was great dozens of trips to Moab, Fruita and Crested Butte just enjoying riding for fun and even enjoying some Wine and Tequila again.

 There is nothing like Moab and one of my favorite places to just escape and ride
My only home project this fall was to rip out some nasty Juniper bushes and plant a shit load of Tulips

It seems nothing I ever do is really as easy as it I envision it ;-)
 Over 500, Can't wait for Spring!!!

On one of my  trips to Moab I had the pleasure of riding with one of my good friends Eric and his family and friends, the kids were just amazing and fun to watch, however an anthill could of kept them busy for hours if it weren't for us.
Before I knew it, it  was time for my yearly trip to Ohio to visit my sister Dawn and her husband Jerry for Thanksgiving.
I had the chance to go to the Michigan Ohio State Game with Jerry but could not make it work, someday I will make it to a Ohio State Game during one of my trips home.

I do love Thanksgiving in Ohio but it is always like hmmm will the snow be good?  After a long summer of riding hitting the slopes sounds so good.
 My Sister is getting the norm a case of wine for Christmas
 Dawn & Jerry Gasper
And One cannot visit Ohio and not go to the Little Store for Lunch and maybe just a little wine
 An Early Season Ride in Waterton Canyon up the Colorado Trail
 And Yes this is my Normal Friday Bubbles and Protien at Shanahan's ;-)
 Life is good Open Snow has forcasted for a major dump at wolf creek over Christmas, the car is packed 3 pair of skis and a FAT Bike

First One in the Parking lot, a great way to spend some time off after a few days skiing waist deep powder I drove over to Crested Butte for a few bike rides before heading home for the New Year!!!

 The Windsor Hotel In Del Norte is just amazing, wonderful food

And this is how I ended my year at home enjoying a safe and very Happy New Year Eve, although there was no way I was going to stay up to actually see it arrive,  as I planned on hitting the gym early.

2015 You Were Amazing and Thank You, but I have news for you 2016 is going to kick your ASS!!!!