Sometimes I don't know who is crazier, me or Mike. We have been looking for a steep hill climb for our training rides in preparation for the Pikes Peak race in August. Of course Mike picked the Magnolia Hill Climb, which is one of the steepest hill climbs in the area, and of course I was willing. (I can just hear my mom asking "If Mike jumps off a cliff, do you have to jump too?") Mike had done the climb solo on his fat bike on May 1st and has been talking in awe about it ever since. We actually drove up to the top with the car beforehand. Mike said he wanted to show me the route, but I know he was just trying to psych me out by scaring the crap out of me. He succeeded in scaring the crap out of me, but I think the adrenalin actually helped during the climb, as did the mental notes I took of possible relief spots. The climb starts out with 2 miles of 14% grade, but after you muscle through that, it gets relatively easier. To give the steepness of the climb perspective, it's the exact same distance as the Lookout Mountain Hill Climb, with TWICE the elevation gain. Check it out:
PS: There is absolutely no shoulder, but if you start early (we started at 6:30 AM), there is also no traffic.
Riding in the rain can be dangerous. Two things to avoid when riding in the rain on street roads: 1) Painted lines - They can be slick as snot in the rain. 2) Suspicious puddles - Puddles can hide pot holes. Watch out! ..... Did you know that the salt in your sweat can damage your expensive cycling sunglasses? In time, salty sweat can actually deteriorate the UV coating on some lenses and also any metal parts in the frame. It is recommended that you rince your glasses after every ride. ..... Did you know that pink was the preferred color for boy's baby clothes in the early 1900's? And Adolf Hitler's Nazi color coding was largely responsible for promoting today's association of pink with femininity. Later, Steve
Did you know that sunglasses that do not block 100% of UV rays might actually be WORSE than no sunglasses at all? This is because the dark lens allows your pupils to open wider, thus letting in more UV rays. .....
Chiggers are insects that burrow under your skin and suck your blood. NONE of that is true! Chiggers are not insects, they don't burrow under your skin and they don't suck your blood. Actually they stay on top of your skin, secrete a substance that liquifies your skin, and then they suck up the liquid through a tiny straw. Later, Steve
Did you know that Alexander Graham Bell, who had recently invented the metal detector, came to the bedside of dying president James Garfield to help locate an assassin's bullet lodged in the president's chest using his invention? Unfortunately the detection was unsuccessful because the device got confused with the mattress springs in the president's bed. James Garfield ultimately died due to infection caused by his doctor's constant probing for the bullet with instruments that were not sanitized. Many US doctors in the late 1800's did not believe in germs. .....
Do you see the tiny tan colored stone near the center of this picture? It's jammed into a ting gap preventing the chain from shifting into the lower gear. The first time I saw this, I wondered "What are the odds of kicking up the perfect sized rock to fall precisely into that tiny gap?" Oddly enough it's happened to me about five times already, enough times that it's the first thing I look for whenever I can't get into the lower gear. Later, Steve
There's never a dull day when you ride with Fat Bike Mike (or lately more like "Flat" Bike Mike). I was surprised when Mike texted me last night saying he wanted to ride today, because he rode back-and-forth to work yesterday for a total of 50 miles! The man is as strong as a country ox. Planning to do my new 25 mile bike path loop with our road bikes, we met at civil twilight (4:55 AM) this morning at the North Table Mountain parking lot. It was a really warm morning, 55 degrees with no wind and the forecast called for 82 later in the day. Shortly into our ride we heard a loud POP! Mike's rear tire had a blowout. We had everything we needed to fix it and the picture above shows Mike changing the tube. Like good boy scouts, we took assessment of the situation. We were 1.2 miles into a 25 mile ride, we just used our only spare tube, and both of us left our wallets in our cars. We decided that it was prudent for us to go back to the cars and get our wallets, just in case we could buy a spare tube along the way (good luck at this time of day), or had more problems. It was a good decision, because when we got back to the cars, POP! The same tire blew out again. I could tell Mike was pissed, and although I immediately saw humor in the situation, now was not the time to joke. We both took another good look at the tire, inside and out, and along the sides, looking for a thorn or sticker. Alas! We found a 1/2 inch tear along the tire's sidewall, which when under high pressure (110 psi) the tube pushes a hernia-like bubble through the tear and bursts. Upon reflection, Mike theorized that he probably tore the tire riding a flat in the beginning of the week. Mike is one to see the silver lining in any cloud. Later he told me how lucky he was that it happened when we were just cruising along having a conversation. It could have easily happened during one of his 30 MPH rides down Lookout Mountain! We salvaged the day by going back to my house and fitting Fat Bike Mike up with a different fat bike. Soon we headed out for a total of 41.8 more miles!
Hey look at our route. It looks like an old sperm!
So I was playing fetch with Trixie last night, and started to wonder; What makes retrievers retrieve? As always I went to Google and asked my personal oracle the question. The number one answer was a link to another one of my favorites; Wikipedia. Turns out, according to Wikipedia, retrievers were BRED to retrieve. Now most people might stop wondering there, but that puzzled me. How do you breed a dog to retrieve? Is there any documentation of the process? Google wasn't much help for me on those questions. I imagined teams of German genetic scientists in the 1940's practicing selective breeding, testing thousands of dogs by throwing a stick and breeding only the ones that brought it back. But then I wondered; Why not just TRAIN a dog to retrieve? Wouldn't that be easier than breeding dogs to retrieve? And ultimately I wondered; if you could BREED a dog to perform a task, why hasn't someone bred a dog to shit in the yard? I stopped my wondering there. ..... Have you been following the primary politics? I've been listening to a lot of NPR One, NPR Politics, Presidential, and Real Time podcasts. If anything, this is going to be an exciting election year. Unfortunately for many, it will be like picking the lesser of two evils. Everyone's saying that Hillary is a shoe-in, but one thing that scares me is that people in both parties are wanting change, and to many, Hillary represents same old, same old. Regardless, I'll predict that Trump will not win, but will come out ahead. He'll strengthen his international celebrity without having to get involved with the headaches of governing. He can continue to play a game he's always been good at; Playboy Monopoly. Later, Steve
It turns out the the "Translate" feature, located at the bottom of the right-hand column of this page, doesn't work that well according to my wife Valeria. She said that it translates word-for-word English to Portuguese, but when you string the translated words together in a sentence, it doesn't always makes sense. Too bad, I was hoping my new friends and family in Brazil could read my blog in Portuguese. .....
While riding my bicycle yesterday, I passed a family of geese, consisting of 2 large adults and 3 cute little babies. I guess I rode by too close, because one of the adults attacked me. It flew directly into my head, bashing me with one of its wings. Alas, another good reason for wearing a bike helmet! I took a hit, didn't get hurt, but learned a good lesson. This morning I passed by the same family, but this time I gave them the right-of-way and eventually they got off the trail. Phew... A close call. So take it from me; Bike riding can be dangerous. But as I tell my step-daughter Heloisa: "Danger is my middle name!" :-) ..... I once looked through a coffee table book, with color photos done by a photographer that stayed at a beach house at Cape Cod for a summer. All of his pictures were taken on his porch, or in the yard, or inside the small house, and they were all absolutely beautiful. It's hard to explain, but it wasn't about content as much as it was about color, shapes, shadows, angles, perspective, and lighting. It showed that you don't have to travel far to find beauty, you just have to look closely. Later, Steve
I just realized that there is a "Translate" feature included in this Blogger blog. It's all the way at the bottom of the right-hand column. I'm not sure how good it is, I'll have to select Portuguese and have Val check it out! .....
Here's a shot of Heloisa and her friend Marie that I took last night at Noodles & Company.
Snakes are out! I saw this one on the bike path during one of my rides this week. It was about 1.5 inches at its thickest point and about 4-5 feet long. I have no idea what type it was. ..... I rode my bike up a steep dirt trail with my good friend Bill Blazek this morning. Not long into our ride I realized that we were doing a lot more walking the bikes than riding them, so I suggested we go back down, get the dogs, and go hiking instead. Usually it's just about impossible to turn Bill around, but this time I got no argument. Later, Steve
Mike and I rode up the Mount Evans Road this morning to the point where they have stopped plowing at about 7 miles. The road was closed to automobile traffic, so it was a pleasure riding without the worry of getting hit by a car.
It was cold drizzling rain this morning during our ride to Echo Lake, our starting point. But by the time we got there, we had risen above the clouds into a sunny day! The picture above shows the cloud level below us.
Check out the picture on the left of the huge snow drift that the plows had to dig through! Here's a map showing our route. Later, Steve
Did you know that the popular Santana song "Black Magic Woman" featured on their Abraxes album was a cover version of a 1968 Fleetwood Mac single? ..... I got 2 miles away from the house this morning on my bike and got a flat. Fortunately I had all the stuff I needed to fix it right inside my backpack. Unfortunately for the first time since I can't remember, I forgot my backpack in the garage. Doah!!! ..... "A feint heart never won a sweet potato" - My uncle, Tom Critch Later, Steve
My 11-year old recently asked, “What are those yellow
flowers called?” I told her they are dandelions. Then she asked, “What are the
white ones called?” I said “That’s what dandelion flowers look like when they get old.”
Now I wasn’t really 100% sure of that statement and started to wonder if the
white ones were indeed yellow ones that turned white, or actually a separate offshoot
of the same plant that’s strictly for spreading their seed.
After all, it's hard to figure how those pretty yellow flower pedals will transform into that delicate white puffball. And how come you never see anything in-between?
Have you ever stopped at one of the lookout points along Trail Ridge Road? Remember those pesky birds scrounging for food? They were Magpies, and it turns out that they are one of the most intelligent animals on earth, and the only non-mammal species to pass the mirror test, an indicator of self awareness. Only FOUR other animals passed the test: great apes (including humans), asiatic elephant, dolphins, and orcas. ..... As you might guess, being the goober that I am, I keep records of all my rides and have a sophisticated Excel application that summarizes the data. Check it out my daily summery in the right-hand column titled "My 2016 Cycling Stats". .....
Did you know that a chicken can easily be hypnotized by holding it's head on the ground, and drawing a line with a stick, starting at the beak and extending outward? Check it out on Wikipedia or in this YouTube video!
If you have been following this blog, by now you are well aware that I have a real problem with Facebook and I can't seem to let it go.
After much contemplation, I’ve come to realize that my
desire to share far exceeds most of my Facebook friend’s desire to follow me.
And that's totally understandable. The majority of them are friends from the past, old school friends, friends from the hood, or old work-friends.
The initial reconnect is fun, but they don’t want to be
bombarded with my day-to-day nonsense. Most of them are just happy to know that
I’m still alive, where I’m living nowadays, and want to see a picture showing how
old I’ve gotten.
For most in this group, we stopped communicating years ago for
various innocent reasons, well before Facebook, and most likely would never have contacted each
other again. And that’s normal! People grow apart.
Sure it’s great to say “Hi” to these people after all these
years, but they’re not at all interested in my daily bullshit and I don’t want
to force them to get so annoyed with it, that they have to physically click on
a button to un-follow me. That hurts.
So that’s the main reason why I like blogging better. It’s more like “Steve
On-Demand”. You can follow as seldom or as often as you like, whenever you like.