September 30, 2007


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

September 2, 2007

Exchanging Lifestlyes

I know its been a longtime since I last posted, but I'm back, at least in a limited capacity. My racing season has wound-down and as it has my lifestyle has changed. I moved to Durango in mid-April and since the move I haven't spent more then two weekends in a row in town. Well, this weekend marks the third weekend in a row in D-town.

The bike has seen a lot of miles since the last time I posted. I spent a couple of weeks on the East Coast in the mud and the roots and then finished the mountain bike race season in Aspen, CO. Now I've left the nomadic lifestyle of bike racing and settled into the fall routine of a non-cyclocross racer, i.e. long, fun mtb rides, work, and nights on the town.

Sam, on the other hand, has been hard at it. Mid-season he came down with a sickness and has spent the rest of the season regaining his form. He is flying now, and just in time. This morning he boarded a plane for Fort Williams, Scotland and the Mountain Bike World Championships. It's his last shot as a U-23 rider. If he rides like he was in Aspen and can avoid crashes and mechanicals he has a shot at seeing the podium. After Scotland it onto Slovenia for the World Cup Finals. Then, maybe he'll get a break.

I know this is a lame post. I've violated both of my only rules for blog writing (1. Keep it short and sweet, 2. Let the pictures tell the story). I'll try to be motivated to bring a camera and be a bit better about writing posts (and they will be better then this one).