Adventures in life and photography out West

Archive for October, 2013

Fending off cold

So, I picked up a generic carbon frame, Step, at VeloSwap this year. I’m not sure what to expect, but I will tell you as soon as I can. I took it down to Boulder’s Sports Garage on Wednesday. The other thing I will get to comment on is the Pro Bike Fit. I have no doubt the resulting fit will be great. It will merely be a matter of how great. I will have a new Specialized saddle and a new handlebar, as well as position. We’ll see how it goes.

I’m looking at a bunch of fun stuff for winter training. While down in Boulder, I picked up the Pearl Izumi Elite AmFib tights for $170. It has a laminated finish across the front of the legs and on the butt to protect the rider against road spray. Just sitting around in them, yes, I’m just sitting around while writing this, they feel snug and warm. They also have a gaiter and cuff at the bottom. They have a strategically-placed flag over the top of the actual tights, where the suspenders begin. As I have not ridden in them, yet, I can’t comment on the chamois, other than identifying it as their Elite 3D. So far, so good. I will wear them in Estes Park’s infamous wind probably right after completing this entry.

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I have a thing for high-end bike clothes, but my beautiful wife is in charge of the money. And for good reason. So, I pick and choose which high-end stuff I get. I have been riding in the cold with the Rapha deep winter cycling cap for the last year. It is great. The web site claims it is windproof and water resistant. I can agree, as I’ve ridden with it through the late fall, this year and the late winter, last year. The liner is Marino wool. When you sweat in it, take it off for a while, then put it back on, it can feel damp and cold. Once back on, it keeps your head good and warm. The brim is long enough to block sun and snow from the top of your glasses, but not so long as to block your view. The back and side fabric, described as the rearguard, is ribbed and comfy, not restricting head and neck movement. Black and understated, it will match anything. It’s a bit pricy at $80, but a quality piece of cycleware. I have washed it over and over in the last year and it has pilled, a bit, but has retained its shape. Don’t put it through the dryer, however. The insert in the bill will likely be ruined.

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My town is slowly coming around. By Monday, November 4, US 36, linking Estes Park to Lyons, will reopen, about one month ahead of time. The Colorado and Utah National Guards have done great things in help us link more directly with the rest of the world.I plan to get out in the next few days, before the road opens, to ride the road at least half way down, to about Pinewood Springs. I’m hoping there is more of a shoulder to the road, as I’ve wanted to ride the 20-mile stretch for years. The lack of any real shoulder is a big deterrent for me, however. It will be very nice to only drive 45 minutes to Boulder next week, in stead of the 90 minutes it now takes.

We still have a month until the Big Thompson Canyon opens. We don’t know when Devils Gulch Road, the road through Glen Haven, will be open. We’ll hope for the best.

Come up and see Estes Park, by two wheels or four. It is still a beautiful little town and worth the drive. On Friday, November 29, Estes Park celebrates the Holiday season with our Catch the Glow Parade. Bundle up, as it’s after dark, but it is filled with lighted floats and a child-like innocence. Afterward, plenty of restaurants have reopened for the visitors and could really use the business. Come see us.

Have fun, be safe. I’m going riding. 


Frost on the Pumpkin

So, it’s getting chilly here at 7,522 feet, and my career path change has given me the opportunity to commute by bike. Up here, this time of the year, there will be times in the commute when bundling and lighting up are necessary. My shift starts at 2 p.m. and lasts to 10:30 p.m. When I’m done, it’s cold and dark. This gives me the chance to put a few items through their paces.

The first thing I worry about, no matter the season, is seeing and being seen. I’ve been hit by a car once. I saw it coming, so I was able to take measures to minimize damage. What it came down to was that the driver did not see me. Head lights in 1995 were not as bright for as reasonable a price as they are today. The old head light I probably picked up at Olympus Cycles in Omaha, Nebraska took four “AA” batteries, had an incandescent bulb and a running time of possibly two or three hours. Not good in a Midwest mid-February.

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My current head light is the Cygolite Pace 750. With 750 lumens (candle power) at it’s brightest setting, it is plenty bright for commuting. It comes with a Li-Ion battery that charges via USB cable in the light housing. The mount is an adjustable quick release, so it fits multiple handlebars. The LED light’s highest (Boost) mode lasts for 90 minutes, while the lowest of the eight settings (day pulse) will go for 22 hours. I was so impressed that I recently purchased the CygoLite helmet mount and an additional CygoLite 800 OSP LED light. It has not arrived, so that review has to wait.

My little town is slowly returning to normal. My neighborhood should have the flush ban lifted in the next two weeks. One annual event that goes on is tonight’s Shining Ball at the Stanley Hotel. The hotel was the inspiration for Stephen King’s famous horror classic, though the best-know Stanley Kubric movie was filmed in Oregon, while the mini-series was returned to the hotel that inspired the book. The event is a nod to King, as well as a chance for grown ups to dress up and act out alter-egos. My wife and her best friend are doing Mexican Dia de los Muertos “sugar scull” costumes while I will wear my usual horns. The ball has been sold out for weeks, so I don’t feel bad about writing now, but be ready. Imagine a great costume and get tickets for next year.

Have fun, be safe. I’m going riding.

 


Checking in

So, we’ve had some water issues in my lovely home town. The water removed bridges and dams. That’s an issue. But signs of recovery and hope are appearing. 

I ran into a guy who works for Ride the Rockies. First, great guy. Works hard and loves what he does. He mentioned how challenging route-finding was so far, with the wiping-out of so many canyons and bridges. They had a southerly route this last year. It will be interesting to see what they have to do this year. I didn’t think of it until today, four days lair, but touring effected communities would be a much-needed shot in the arm. If you live in one of these Colorado Front Range or Foothills communities, shoot them and e-mail with the suggestion. Evergreen, Nederland, Ward, Jamestown, Estes Park, Boulder, Longmont and possibly most of all, Lyons, could use some love.

Colorado’s Cyclist-in-Chief visited town today. Governor John Hickenlooper was touring these communities offering hope and help. He missed the new ride out east, Pedal the Plains, in September due to a surgery. He was still hobbling around on really cool crutches, as much as crutches can be cool. My town gave hime a t-shirt created to raise money for flood relief. When I get him alone for a moment, I told him of Slipstream’s (parent company for the Garmin-Sharp pro race team) Castelli jersey. The clothing sponsor for the Garmin squad has created a Colorado Drop jersey featuring the blue argil and a rain drop with the Colorado “C” in it. Money raised will go to local flood recovery efforts. Way to step up! I will be ordering mine on Friday. Check it out – http://store.castelli-us.com/product/drop-for-colorado-jersey/?added-to-cart=329

There are many organizations jumping in to help, and it’s a nice thing to see. The big main highways from Estes Park down to the Front Range should have the simplest of dirt roads by December. Hopefully, those guys will have something ridable by June. From what I’ve seen, these guys are working much harder than their pay grade would indicate. Between the Nat’l Guard and the Army Corpse of Engineers, we have plenty of workers. (Warning – Political statement coming) I hope the powers that be can pull their collective heads out so these guys can get paid for helping us out.

So, I’ve had a change in my real job, so I will be switching my schedule. I will be writing on Wednesdays for a while. That opens up a lot of fun for me. Nobody else home on Wednesdays. I can take long rides guilt-free! That’s yet another chance to get cool stuff and review it. Hurray for me!

Until then . . .

Have fun, be safe. I’m going riding!

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The jersey. Pretty cool!