December 1, 2007

The Cycling House 2008

The past week and a half has been a busy one. Owen and I, mainly Owen, have been busy getting The Cycling House ready for operation. At the same time, after a long break from the bike this fall, I have slowly been getting back into the riding routine. Here are a few pictures of the house, near completion.


After all the work on the house Owen finally found time for some R&R

We should have some more photos of the house up on The Cycling House website in the next few days.

November 23, 2007

November 19, 2007

Moving On

I arrived back in Durango late last night after a week long visit with my parents in Montana. I went in part, in search of winter. Fall in Durango has been pleasant to say the least. For more then a month nary a drop of rain has struck Durango, the days have been cloudless, and the temp in the upper 60's. Needless to say I won't find winter in Tucson either. Unfortunately I didn't find it in Missoula either. The days were gray but pleasant and the mountain bike trails were buff and dry. While the riding was great it really just feels wrong to ride your mountain bike in Montana in November.

As it turns out, I missed winter by a few hours. As I was dropped off at the airport yesterday evening a light snow was falling but it was still to warm for it to stick. Shortly after my flight left it started to snow harder and began to stick. This morning there was something like six inches and it continued to snow for most of the morning as well.

Now it looks like I might not see snow all year. I spent today tying up some loose ends here in Durango and packing up all of my stuff. Tomorrow, its off to Tucson, for a winter of riding in the desert. Here's what the pack job looked like. To do it justice I really needed some time lapse photography but this is all I've got.

The beginning:

First the bikes:

Then everything else:

Here's a view from the front:

The speed wagon is going to have its work cut out to get me to Tucson.

November 9, 2007

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

There's no place like home

Yesterday I clicked my ruby red slippers together and, after nearly a year's absence, I arrived in my hometown. In classic fall/winter fashion it was gray and dreary but there wasn't a speck of snow. I came expecting to get in some riding but not on the mountain bike. With the lack of snow though I decided to take advantage and borrowed my Dad's old Stumpjumper. After 3 hours I was left wondering why I ever left this place. The trails were incredible. They were in that state where they were wet, but not muddy, just tacky and you could rip. In a word they were buttery. In places the larch had lost all their needles and they covered the trail making it look like a yellow snake slithering between the trees, or, in keeping with the theme of this post, like the yellow brick road. You just had to look out for those damn flying monkeys. I still haven't gotten my replacement camera but I'll see what I can do about some photos.

Tomorrow I'll be throwing on some orange and getting down Montucky style.

Andy

November 1, 2007

Costa Rica and back




Hey this is Evan. It's been awhile since I've written anything here. It's been almost a month since I've had my own computer. I actually forgot how to copy and paste if you can believe that. I kind of like the fact that I had forgot some stuff. Maybe my memory is slipping I'm not sure. At any rate I'm back from a month of traveling throughout Costa Rica.
Owen and I headed out just after inter bike (oct 2nd) and hit the coast in search of surf/ coffee/and more surf. We traveled with our surfboards and small backpacks. It was one great adventure after another. We opted to travel with the locals on the bus instead of renting a car. I kind of wanted to rent the car, but Owen insisted we travel cheap and not contribute to global warming by burning up liters of gas. I think he just wanted to save money. I'm glad we took the bus though. It made for more adventure than we could handle. Eleven hour bus rides can keep things interesting. I rescued a couple of village girls from a deadly snake that had one of them cornered in a room. I'm not sure the snake was even dangerous, but I felt like the late crocodile hunter Steve Irwin for sure.
The surf was good and we were in the water every chance we had. When the surf wasn't good, we occupied our time with games of checkers (Owens really good), drinking massive amounts of coffee. Owen drank 12 cups one day and didn't sleep the rest of the trip. We also gathered up some other travelers for some beach clean up one afternoon. We barely made a dent, but we did our best. We spent about 2 hrs picking up trash and were rewarded with a whopping 11 bags(see the pics).
Besides surfing coffee was on our mind. Owen left after 2 1/2 weeks and I continued on and toured a remote organic coffee farm.

I'm in search of our next great coffee to offer and may have found it. This beautiful farm sits high in the southern mountain bordering the La Amisted national park. Here are a few pics of the area. The differences between an Organic farm and a non-organic farm were very noticeable. The organic farm was full of life and the non organic not so much. Ok this post is wearing out my fingers. All said it was a great trip, but I'm happy to be back.

October 23, 2007

Scratchy Throat

The lack of post directly corresponds to the lack of adventures in my life lately. I did race on a four-person team at the 24 Hours of Moab couple of weekends ago but I don't really have anything to say about it other then it wasn't the funnest thing that I have ever done.

The biggest thing that has happened in my life lately is getting my tonsils cut out of my throat last Thursday. The adventure started way back at The Cycling House last February. I had a really sore throat that got worse and worse until it finally got to the point where my throat was so swollen that when I took a drink of water it couldn't make it down my throat so it came out my nose. After a day of this Owen convinced me that it would be a good idea to go to the Emergency Room to get an IV to replenish my fluids since I hadn't been able to drink for over a day. At the Emergency Room the doctor immediate diagnosed an abscess of my tonsils. Basically there is a tiny space between your tonsils and your throat lining. Bacteria had gotten into this space in my throat and started multiplying. Basically I had a gigantic pimple in my throat. A specialist had to come in and he stuck a big needle into my throat and sucked all the pus out. I felt a lot better but by day two the pus had come back and I had to get it drained again. The doctor wanted to take my tonsils out right then and there because that was the only way to insure that it would never come back. I had already missed over a week of training and was able to convince him that it would be better to hold off and get my tonsils out sometime during the fall. So here I am. I really wish that I still had my camera (unfortunately it got stolen but it was my own fault) because my throat is pretty cool looking. Its swollen and has some knarly white scabs on each side.

Saying that I have had a lot of downtime since Thursday would be an understatement. Besides watching episodes of "Walker Texas Ranger" I have started reading the book "From Lance to Landis" by David Walsh. Its a pretty good book and I would recommend it to anyone who is in endurance sports, especially cycling. It might be pretty eye-opening for a lot of people. For me, it has just reinforced how I have felt about road cycling in Europe since I started paying attention to it. My only problem with the book is the author's fascination with trying to take Lance Armstrong down. This isn't the first book the author has written about doping and Lance. In fact Lance has sued Walsh over allegations he has made in the past. I understand that Lance is the shark in the sea of minnows that is professional cycling but I think that his point that cycling is a dirty sport could be made without singling out Armstrong. Anyway its a good read and one of the only reasons I have stayed sane as I have laid on the coach for these last couple of days trying not to swallow.

October 9, 2007

Climbing on Owen

Mountaineers are tough.

Since my last backpack excursion I have been reading a lot of books about
some crazy mountaineers. I'm reading "Touching the Void" by Joe Simpson right now. Its probably one of the greatest true stories of suffering and survival. You should check it out. Or, if you are really lazy, you can just watch the movies. It goes by the same name. Sure, as a cyclist, I endure a lot of suffering for two, sometimes four hours, but what these guys go through is really incredible.

On that note, I met up with my brother Sam last weekend for a backpack trip that wasn't about suffering but about enjoying the mountains in the fall. Sam and I see each other a f
air amount throughout the year but its always at races. We are both preoccupied with the race so we rarely spend much time together so this weekend was a welcomed change.

The weekend started Friday evening when we rendezvoused in Mineral Hot Springs, CO and drove up together to the trailhead in the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range. We setup camp next to the car and and cooked ourselves a feast of organic brats, organic chili, and organic corn, all cooked over the fire. Sam knows how to shop.

That night, shortly after crawling into our sleeping bags the wind picked up. It wouldn't stop blowing until Sunday morning. At first, it was little more then a nuisance. We put earplugs in to drown out some of the noise but it was still hard to sleep when the tent flapped against our faces all night. In the morning we packed up our stuff and began the trek up to Peanut Lake. It wasn't far and we made it to the lake in just over two hours. A problem became apparent upon our arrival however. The lake was primarily above the treeline and the wind was howling through the basin. After a short search we found an area with a few trees and rocks that helped break the wind a bit. We pitched the tent, making sure to tie the tent to a tree so that it wouldn't blow away.

Sam brought his fishing pole but with the wind blowing like it was, fishing wasn't an
attractive option. Hanging in camp was out of the question too. It would have been too cold and miserable. So, we did the only thing we could think of. We hiked.

We started by scrambling up to a sa
ddle in a ridge that was around 12,000 feet and flirted with 13,000+ at a number of unnamed peaks along its length. As soon as we reached the ridge we were confronted by hurricane style winds. We estimated that it was blowing at a constant 60 mph with gusts above 80 mph. All I know is that we made it a point to stay away from any shear edges because when you got hit with a blast it was enough to make you stumble a couple of steps. I wish I could describe to you what it felt like better but it was something like this, only without the rain and no one was holding us up, although I did think about asking Sam to hold me up. As my little brother it is the least he could do.

Here I am, taking a breather from the wind on the lee side of the ridge.

After summiting several of the unnamed 13ers we decided it would be best to head back to camp and see if the tent was still standing. From the ridge we could see the wind gust across the lake and shoot spray through the air.

That evening was much too windy for a fire and even too windy to enjoy a cigar so it was to bed early. In the middle of the night the wind finally died down but it was cold, probably in the low 20's. When we woke up I thought that Sam must have changed into my five year old sister.
He kept going on about how cold he was all night and how long the night lasted. But to be fair, I probably did just as much, if not more, complaining then he did. In fact, I'll let you in on some of my whining: I have spent the last two days walking down stairs sideways because my quads hurt too much to walk straight down them and last night I spent 15 minutes popping all the blisters on my toes.

With the wind no longer a factor we ended the weekend on a high note. After packing up camp and loading our packs we set off and climbed Mt. Owen. As you can see, we dedicated this climb to our hero.


Here is another view from the top of Owen. The lake we camped a
t is in the basin you can see and is hidden by the ridge.
On another note, Sam forgot/lost his stocking hat but being the MacGyver he is he made himself a stocking hat and got a sweet muscle shirt out of the deal.
Just look at those guns. I think that a great off-season goal for him would be to start working on his forearms so they get bigger then his biceps, Popeye style.
It wouldn't take long, they are about the same size right now.

September 30, 2007

Fatigue

I just got back to Durango after spending almost two weeks in the Las Vegas area for Interbike. Interbike is the biggest bike expo in North America. Almost every company involved in cycling displays their new goods for 2008. Interbike consists of two days of bike and equipment demos and three days of an indoor show. At the bike demo, dealers have the opportunity to actually ride all the new bikes and gear. At the indoor show, they have the opportunity to check out the new gear, setup new contacts, and place orders for '08.

I left on Tuesday the 18th and drove to Boulder City, NV, just south of Vegas. I spent Wednesday through Sunday helping Cannondale build over 150 brand new bikes. On Monday and Tuesday I was at the Outdoor Demo and spent the days changing seat heights, spinning pedals on and off, and pumping up shocks and forks on all those new bikes. Its pretty amazing how trashed bikes can get in two days.

Tuesday night, after packing up from the Outdoor Demo, it was off to the Vegas Strip. I spent my time on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday helping lead group rides for Cannondale at the Red Rocks Resort and lending a hand at the Hammer Nutrition/53x11 Coffee booth at the Indoor Show. Building bikes for days on end, dealing with a lot of people, and a lack of sleep have left me pretty haggard. The main thing I looked forward to was sampling the 53x11 Coffee at the show. Its the only thing that kept me going.

Owen and Evan did a great job at the show. The coffee was a huge hit. I had a great time hanging out with them. It was the first time that I have hung out with either of them since I left The Cycling House in mid-April. I haven't laughed until my abs hurt since The Cycling House either. Time to get some more sleep.

September 17, 2007

One foot in front of the other

All last week I was incredibly sore from my hike on Sunday to Lavender Peak. It always happens after I do my first big activity away from bike racing. It usually lasts two or three days but this time I could barely walk for the entire week. Finally, on Friday, I could almost walk normally so I decided that I would put myself back through the pain and soreness and took off for another hike. This hike was different then last weekend for a couple of reasons. This hike would require a long approach hike and a night out in the woods but most notably I would be solo.

Plans for this hike started to get hatched the first day I moved to Durango. On my first
ride in Durango I rode up to Purgatory, the ski area. There is one spot along the road where the trees part and offer a view of several amazing peaks. This is essentially the view and the peaks that I wanted to tackle:

I took off from work at 1:00 and was hiking by 1:45. I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. All I knew was that I wanted to climb Sunlight Peak and Windom Peak, they were located in Chicago Basin, and that a trail heading into Chicago Basin started at Purgatory. I knew I was in for it when 20 minutes into the hike I came across two guys who were hiking out and they told me that it would take "about two days" for me to get to Chicago Basin. I had six hours until dark. That conversation motivated me and I began to jog, full pack and all, whenever the trail was flat and smooth enough. It turned out to be 17 miles into the basin. I made it with just enough time to setup a tent and to gather some water for the next day before it got dark.
Looking into Chicago Basin.
View from my tent door as the sun started to set.

I woke up at 4:30 the next morning, boiled some water for instant oatmeal, and was hiking by 5:00.


I made it into the upper basin just as the first hints of light appeared. My first peak, Sunlight is just to the left of this picture.


After a long scramble up a steep, loose gully I made it onto a ridge just below the summit of Sunlight and to this view, as the sun rose.

After one of the more technical scrambles that I have done I made it to the summit of Sunlight.


I definitely did a bit of praying to the prayer flags on top of Sunlight to see myself down through the upper technical part of Sunlight and back into the basin. It must of worked because I was off of Sunlight and to the top of Windom Peak in no time. This is a view from the top of Windom looking back at Sunlight.

After descending off of Sunlight, I side-hilled along the upper part of the basin until I reached to ridged up to Windom Peak. The ridge up to Windom was relatively quick and easy. The view back to Sunlight was fantastic.

After Windom, I descended to the base of the upper basin and was content to head back to pack up my tent and head home even though it was only 9:30. However, I ran into another hiker before getting too close to my tent and he thought that it would only take me under two hours to summit the third 14,000 foot peak in the basin, Mt. Eolus. That was enough to convince me to try it. Here is the view back to Sunlight and Windom from about 3/4 of the way up Eolus (Sunlight on the left, Windom in the middle).

The climb up Eolus was one of the scariest things that I have done. The gravity of the situation set in when I was spending a lot of time walking on a two or three foot wide granite slab that was sloping down towards a couple hundred foot cliff and I realized that the only thing that was keeping me from dying was the friction between my shoes and the rock. I was too freaked out to get any pictures on the upper part of the mountain; I just wanted to get up and get down. The summit was achieved and I made it back to my tent around 12:45. I grabbed some more water out of the creek, packed up my tent and was headed for civilization by 1:15. The hike out was a bit of a death march. I ran when I could but I was exhausted. After just over 6 hours I made it back to the car in a downpour.

In all, I hiked around 40 miles, bagged three peaks, and got to sleep in the backcountry in 30 hours. My feet hurt.

September 9, 2007

Shades of Purple

You know your life is getting really one-dimensional when you haven't done any exercise other then riding my bike since December. In an effort to embrace the off season and correct that one-dimensionalness I headed into the La Plata mountain range with three other friends today. It was a good day. We headed into the basin pictured below without any more of a plan then to go for a hike. After hiking up to the ridge on the right we decided to climb Lavender Peak.

The peak is somewhere to the middle right of the picture.


Contemplating the meaning of life.

On the top.

And the scramble down.

September 7, 2007

Saddle Sores

I got a call from Ben Kneller on Tuesday asking me if I wanted to do a big ride with him and Ben Hoffman on Thursday. I accepted, somewhat ignorantly, not fully knowing what I was getting myself into. It turned out to be the longest ride of my life. Here's the ride by the numbers:

Route: Durango to Silverton to Ouray to Telluride to Dolores to Mancos to Durango
Length: 230.7 miles
Ride Time: 12 hours, 25 min
Total Time: 14 hours, 2 min
Total Elevation Gain: over 16,000 feet
Average Speed: 18.6 mph
Average Watts: 190
Total Pedal Revolutions: over 60,000
Total Calories: 8479

Here's the ride by the photos.

The start, in the dark, at 6:00 am.


The first, and one of the hardest, of five mountain passes for the day.

The second pass, Molas, immediately after Coalbank.

After a stop for water in Silverton it was onto the highest point of the day, Red Mountain Pass, at an elevation of just over 11,000 feet.

This is part of the descent off of Red Mountain Pass down into the town of Ouray.

Ben, trying to entertain himself.

This sign says it all: We were riding through the "Switzerland of America."

Dallas Pass, only one more pass to go.

Not quite up to Hammer Nutrition protocol, but we were hungry, and pizza fit the bill.

The top of Lizard Head Pass. It was all downhill from here, except for when it went uphill.


Finally, as the sun set, we crested Hesperus. It was eleven more miles of downhill into town.

Normally, I only do a few six hour days a year. Six hours is a big day for me. What's weird though is how you can make a mental switch. Yesterday, when I hit the six hour mark, it wasn't a big deal at all, it was just the halfway mark. It got boring out there but I was happy for this blog. I spent most of the ride thinking about what I would write and what photos I would post. You might be thinking "Over 12 hours of thinking about this post and this is the best you could come up with." Well it is so lay off me.

Time to go ice my gooch again.

September 3, 2007

Owen and His Summer Adventures

I'll admit, it's been awhile since my last blog post. The racing season is over and it seems like things haven't slowed up at all. Missoula, MT is where I'm living right now but that will all change in about a week. First I go to Cali for a short surf session with Evan then it's to Tucson, AZ to get ready for the upcoming Cycling House season. It's going to be a busy fall/winter for us.

I feel like I should fill everyone in on what I've been up to, other then coffee. I'll take all you folks on a brief (photo enhanced) tour of my summer so far.

First I went for a high speed bicycle ride.

Then I moved back to MT for the summer and saw the family again. I currently live with my brother. He's the big harry guy in the middle of this picture.


I tried to learn how to ride a skateboard. As you can see, I obviously crashed shortly after this picture was taken.

I Finally met up with Evan in California to work on new ideas for 53x11 Coffee and catch some surf. I probably crashed shortly after this picture was taken too. Evan is good.

I made a quick trip to Las Vegas to play the Top Gun machine inside Treasure Island. I lost. Just so you know, the Top Gun game will only let you fly with Ice Man, Goose and the girl. Maverick was nowhere to be seen.

Later on in the summer I was the best man in some guys wedding. The food was pretty good. This is me on the left complimenting a dude on his choice of clothing...he said the same thing to me.

At the wedding I tried to dance with girls but I think I tried too hard...

I started a Missoula league 53x11 Coffee Kickball team. I don't want to brag or anything but we are undefeated. (I'm 4th from the left)

I lost an arm wrestling match to my next door neighbor. I think we can all see why.


My most recent adventure was purchasing this sweet 2003 Dodge Grand Caravan. This will be the new 53x11 Coffee van and it will also be used to transport people at The Cycling House. I'm not a huge fan of driving cars but with all of the traveling that lay ahead it's a necessity. Nobody thought it was possible to make a minivan look cool. I showed them.

These were a few highlights from my summer. Evan and I are having more fun then ever working on our 53x11 Coffee company. We currently have our sights set on Interbike in Las Vegas which is at the end of the month. We'll let you know how it goes.

Until next time, Owen