Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Two Dogs go up the Hill


by Paul 

After months of planning and playing schedule tag we finally managed to pull off an epic ride in the La Plata mountains near Mancos, CO.

There ended up being only two on the ride due to schedule conflicts like looking at skinny roadies or knee injuries etc. Chuck and family ended up in Mancos at Paul’s house the night before and once again Night Guy was nowhere to be seen. (editor’s note:  This was two days before the reappearance of Night Guy in Crested Butte.)  Perhaps he is burnt out for the season or needs more practice?

Just as well, since we needed an early start to avoid thunderstorms building in the afternoon. This ride starts at 9,000 feet and goes upwards from there.
We were packed to the gills with water and clif bars, an extra 4 compartments were added to Chuck’s camelback so that the sandwiches would fit.

We knew that it was going to be a long day in the saddle so the pace was leisurely as wound our way up the Aspen loop trail to join the West Mancos trail. It was a nice cool morning and the forest was looking great.

Soon enough Mt. Hesperus started looming over our right shoulder as we climbed up to Shark’s tooth trail head. After 2 hours of mostly granny gear climbing we finally crested the pass at 11,900 feet and stopped for lunch.
Chuck was jealous when he saw 8 clif bars fall out of Paul’s camelback, he wasn’t able to fit any into his 34 compartment behemoth.

We were sitting on top of the world admiring the view with no one to be seen when a super fit female runner comes cruising up from the other side of the pass.
She didn’t even stop, just plodded along while we both had a befuddled look on our faces.

Bombing down the other side into Bear creek was the highlight of the ride, loose scree and boulders line the trail on the way down. Hang on tight boys, easy on the brakes, keep it upright. After descending for a while we were still at 10,000 feet with the valley walls towering above us.

The Bear creek trail is a fantastic meander of 18 miles all the way down to the Delores highway. Single track winds gradually down and the creek lived up to its name as we saw an adult bear with two cubs next to the trail.
Once at the bottom we stopped for a break to prepare for the horrendous climb up the Morrison trail.
This climb started at 8,100 and topped out at 9,600 after only 2.5 miles.

The reward after that slog is a beautiful aspen forest single track towards the starting point of the ride. The legs were feeling it and the camels ran dry at this point.

We were pleased to see the trusty old Subaru at the trail head, a cooler with refreshments was a welcome surprise too.
All in all we covered 42 miles with 5,600 feet of climbing which took 6 hours.

The beers and pizza tasted heavenly that night!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Stage One of the US Pro Cycling Challenge in Crested Butte

By Bob

            In the middle of a work week, a mangy group of Rez Dogs including Chuck, Nate, Bob, Chuck W. and Mike B. somehow managed to find their way up to Crested Butte to watch the very best cyclists in the world - including Cadell, both Schlecks, and Levi - do battle in the high altitude of Colorado.  A report: 

1.      Serious TV air time.   Here is a verbatim email exchange between Chuck, Bob and Paul the week before:

·         Chuck to Bob and Paul:  “FYI…I fully intend to get my keester some serious TV air time.  Bob can you cover the legal ramifications of just busting on the course and riding with the Schlecks the last mile to the finish line on our Tomacs??  Public roads right?  I won’t mind a full body cavity search by the Colorado State Police, but I don’t want to do any jail time.”

·         Paul’s reply to Chuck: “Chuck don’t worry about the cavity search or the jail time with the cops, they have a gentle touch and they are cute too!”

2.      Night Guy re-emerges.   It’s been awhile since we have heard from or seen Chuck’s alter ego, Night Guy.  Perhaps the last time was when he famously tied one on the night before Dawn til Dusk in April.  Well . . . Night Guy re-emerged in all his glory with a late night romp in Crested Butte that included a 1am dash downhill (without lights) from the ski resort to the town of Crested Butte, a belligerent cop, and a cowboy bar that Night Guy and some of his fellow dogs were lucky to survive.  And as usual, Night Guy wrote some big checks (more below) for Morning Guy, to cover.

3.      Grinning like the cat who ate the canary.  Excitement grew the evening before the race in the condo when Chuck opened up an email from Scottie Nydom, the former BMC racer who took a bad fall in the Tour of Gila Crit a couple of years ago.  Scottie still works for the BMC team which includes Cadell Evans and George Hincapie.  Attached to the email were photos taken the day before Stage 1 at the prologue in Colorado Spring’s Garden of the Gods with Peter sitting behind the wheel of the BMC support car grinning like the cat that ate the canary.  The general consensus of those who saw the photos was that Peter must have been grinning because he was thinking about taking off in the car for the Bread Springs loop for a rematch with his nemesis. 

4.      Crested Butte’s “signature trail”.  Before heading into town, Night Guy planned a 7am ride with Bob on Trail 401 which by most accounts is Crested Butte’s “signature trail.”  At 6:30am, Morning Guy – against all odds – popped out of bed bright eyed and bushy tailed and started brewing coffee and loading his 29 compartment (yep, it’s somehow still growing) Gallup-Flea-Market- Camelback in spite of Night Guy’s escapades.  Morning Guy then hammered out a fantastic ride that included chest high fields of flowers, raised, wooden wetlands crossings and steep but sweetly flowing switchbacks that climbed 2,000 vertical feet to a high pass above timberline.  So, yes, Morning Guy came through and - yet again - covered another big check written by Night Guy. 

5.      Random impressions of the show:   Here are some random impressions: 

·         The whole scene was astonishing.  The course set up, the entourages, the pre-race festivities, the trade show, race announcers and the crowds were like magically stepping into a live giant screen broadcast of the Tour de France. 
·         The number of cars and motorcycles that drive in front of the racers is unbelievable.  No joke.  There were at least 50 cars and motorcycles zooming though the finish area for over 30 minutes before the first racers came in.
·         Levi took off like a rocket in the final stretch.  Instead of doing a drug test, they should have searched Levi for a jet propelled rocket.
·         Crested Butte is a great place to be in the summer and the ski condo lodging is roomy and cheap.  Chuck:  “Let’s do a weeklong tour of Colorado ski resorts next summer where we stay condos and ride the trails at each resort.”
·         The Americans (Levi, VandeVelde, VanGarderen, Big George Hincapie and Tommy D.) destroyed the Europeans.  Cadell was game but the Schlecks and Basso were non-factors. 
·         There were pockets of Columbians with flags and dressed in their national colors cheering on their climbers - who did better than the Europeans.
·         The crowd at the finish area stayed in place and cheered just as loud for the last riders as they did the leaders.  Way cool!!

6.      Concluding questions.  What is in pouch # 25 of Chuck’s camelback?  A magic potion that cures sleep deprivation and hangovers? 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Bob and Peter take on the high elevation in Leadville

By Bob

Our jerseys made their competitive debut in Leadville this weekend . . . in style. Peter and Bob sported their Rez Dog kits in the ultra competitive Silver Rush 50 that included only seven racers from New Mexico in a field of over 750. 

A report:

  • A BIG HUG & A PLEA. Here is the scene that played out in Peter’s driveway after work last Thursday: Sarah is giving Peter a big hug and, as she does, she pleads in a mock tone, “Please don’t hit a sheep.” Peter shakes his head and says to no one in particular, “What was once just a family joke is now a club joke.” Yes, Peter. First family, then the club . . . then Gallup . . . then the world. This is way too good a story to keep under wraps.

  • CAMELBACKS & BFFs. When not riding the 24 Hours in the Sage course in Gunnison, asking about last week’s plane ride by new BFFs Paul and Greg or bemoaning their failure to borrow Chuck’s 28-compartment-Gallup-flea-market camelback for their post race mountaineering, Bob was pumping Peter for info about his national’s racing history. Here’s the scoop: Peter’s highest finish was fourth in the 40+ marathon in Sonoma - in spite of a broken chain. He has had other top ten finishes in the marathon and top 15 finishes in the cross country. Peter is the only Rez Dog rider with enough cojones to ride nationals and he pulls off great results year after year. He said, “Sometimes, I’ve had better results at nationals than here in New Mexico.”

  • SHAVED LEGS, HEART RATE MONITORS & $10,000 BIKES. Peter and Bob got to the start/finish early and marked a starting spot with their bikes. Riders started drifting in and, man, were they a different breed: shaved legs, heart rate monitors and $10,000 bikes. No hand drawn dogs, sheep or grasshoppers for these guys and, yet, in spite of it all, an eerie sense of calm prevailed. Peter: “This is kind of disorienting. I don’t know what to do without Chuck trying to rebuild his front shock minutes before the start or going on a rant about evil roadies poaching a mountain bike race.”

  • HIKE-A-BIKES & HEAD ONS. Course beta: Start at 10,000 and push your bike up a ski hill. Climb to 12,000. Ripping descent. Climb back to 12,000. Ripping descent. Climb back to 12,000. Ripping descent. Turn around and do it all again – on two track roads with rock gardens, stream crossings and, in spots, the ever present fear of a high speed head on collision. Six big climbs in total - three of which forced even the hottest riders into granny gear and then hike-a-bikes.

  • 11 SECONDS & 55 SECONDS. Peter set a pre-race goal of breaking 5 hours. Bob was hoping to break 6 hours. Their times: Peter at 5:00:11 and Bob at 6:00:55. No joke. Close, but no cigar. Peter was 40th overall out of 750+ riders and 15th out of 207 in 40+. Bob was 190th overall and 22nd out of 72 in 50+, after his division was corrected. More on that shortly. 

  • BOB’S SECOND CHILDHOOD & ANOTHER EMPTY PODUIM SPOT. Last week Bob was on his way to Chuck’s house to meet the pack for the late showing of Horrible Bosses when he spotted Alan on a bike and slowed to visit. When Alan learned what Bob was up to, he popped off, “You are going through a second childhood aren’t you.” Minutes after the finish in Leadville, Bob thought Alan had pulled off an epic practical joke when Bob’s name flashed on to the big electronic scoreboard in 5th place in 19 & under. Seriously. Ask Peter. Needless to say, Bob didn’t stick around for the podium - again. 

CONCLUDING QUESTIONS. How does Peter pull off such great results in nationals? In fact, how does he always get top results in every big out of state race he goes to? Has he mastered the art of “peaking” for big races? Was Dr. Michele Ferrari – the banned Italian physician - Peter’s classmate at UCLA medical school? Or . . . is it just that when Peter is out of state he is also out of range of the killer sheep from the Bread Springs loop? Just asking.