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Of course you hurt, it's supposed to hurt. So keep pedalling!

Monday, July 07, 2014

Part 1: A Bicycle is a Unicycle with a Training Wheel

When I was 14 years-old I decided I wanted to work on my balance. I bought a Schwinn unicycle with proceeds from my paper route. I had no idea how to ride a unicycle. I had even less of an idea on how to learn to ride a unicycle.

My older brother taught me how to ride a bike, which in retrospect, would constitute cruel and unusual punishment in any court in the land!

I was on my own trying to learn how to ride a unicycle. I spent many hours pedaling my unicycle back-and-forth across the driveway using the garage door for support. I fell off a lot!

Slowly, very slowly, I started to get the hang of it. At first I could do just a few peddle strokes without leaning against the garage door. Then all of a sudden I felt a surge of confidence and I took off down the driveway. It worked! I could ride a unicycle!

I learned how to pivot the unicycle, balance without moving, backup, hop sideways, and jump over stuff. I could stand up, move the seat out of the way, and pedal just standing on the wheel.

The coolest thing I could do was go up and down stairs! I used my unicycle to collect from my paper route customers. The tips rolled in! I could almost always get to the door on my unicycle, ring the doorbell, take the money, make change and give the customer a receipt, without getting off the unicycle!

In the last 40 years, unicycles have become really cool.


This is an Nimbus Oregon 26" Mountain Unicycle with a Surly Nate "Fat" tire. This bad boy has a hydraulic disk brake and downhill pedals. For the modest price of $830 you get an all-terrain unicycle that can take on any technical terrain.

But wait a minute - I already have seven really cool bikes. How much trail time is this killer unicycle going to see? It already takes me a week to ride all the bikes I have. I decided to pass on the ultimate unicycle.


Part 2: One of The Best Bike I Have Ever Been On

Earlier this year I attended the Bike Junkies Fest hosted by the Golden Bike Shop. Here is link to my blog about the event:

www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal.asp?id=SPEEDYDOG&page=39


One bike I demoed really stood out. I fell in love with the 26" Pivot Mach 5.7 Carbon XT/XTR PRO.


This bike is a rocket and has 150mm (6") of trail gobbling suspension travel. Although the Mach 5.7 climbed well, the descent was where it shined! When I hit the lower part of Chimney Gulch I just let the bike go!


Here is the lower part of Chimney Gulch. This trail segment consists of anti-erosion timbers, big rocks and steep drops. I hit this nightmare going over 20 mph. I just relaxed and let the bike do the work. The Mach 5.7 floated over the obstacles. Even to glance at the brakes during this rough segment was certain death! At the end of the bumps was a 90 degree corner. I threw the bike into the corner pretty much thinking I was dead meat. The bike tracked through the corner like it was on rails!

I was in love.

But the Pivot Mach 5.7 is really expensive. Even on sale this bike is $6,000. To afford this bike, I would have to part with my Specialized Camber "Little Cam", Specialized Allez road bike, Surly cross bike and my Honda CRF230 dirt motorcycle. I am already selling my Suzuki DL1000 street motorcycle to get a bigger down payment on a new car for my wife.

I already have plenty of great mountain bikes. I had to pass on the Pivot Mach 5.7.


My best bike is a 2012 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Carbon Expert. This bike is fast! I installed bigger disc brakes to help control speed. "Ultra-Stumpy" is an endurance racing bike. The Pivot is an all mountain bike. However, Ultra-Stumpy has 130mm of travel and can take on bad terrain. I think I am set.


Part 3: Better Ride Mountain Bike Training Camp

I decided to attend a three day mountain bike training camp that will be held in Evergreen, Colorado, on August 15th through August 17th.

betterride.net/mountainbikeclinicsan
dcamps/mountain-bike-camps-clinics-ski
lls-coaching/


I find mountain biking more strenuous than road biking. When I ride my road bike, I pretty much stay in the saddle and pedal. When I ride a mountain bike, I am rarely on the saddle. Mountain biking takes more upper body strength than road riding.


The uneven and loose surface can knock the front wheel all over the place. Even though mountain biking can result in some spectacular crashes.


I consider mountain biking safer than road riding since I regard careless drivers to be a lot greater hazard than a few rocks.


This is a mountain bike trail near Golden called Apex Trail. This trail has a few rocks here and there.

I have a month to get in a lot better shape before the camp. My ankle is healed and I am increasing my running and riding. I have a mountain biking specific strength workout that I have just started.

Even better news I am down 15 pounds!

Thanks for reading my blog.

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PDQ1203 7/12/2014 4:50AM

    emoticon

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LMB-ESQ 7/10/2014 10:42AM

    "Bike Junkie" Yup, that's you :-)

Rocks versus drivers? Well, in ordinary circumstances, I'd agree that drivers are way more hazardous. But honestly, Bruce, you put yourself in out-of-the-ordinary circumstances all the time. Are you sure you weren't the model for the Epic Failure poster? Looks plenty hazardous to me!

emoticon for 15 lbs! Excellent!

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BOILHAM 7/9/2014 7:39AM

    Great to see you're back in the saddle and enjoying those rides. You are a beast, enjoy the training camp.

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LINDAKAY228 7/8/2014 7:14PM

    I agree with you about the mountain being safer than the streets! My mom used to get upset about my hiking in the Gila National Forest when she was alive. I told her I stood much more chance of getting run over in town (even on the sidewalk because sometimes people leave the road ha ha) than I did in the mountains! I remember Evergreen, because we lived 35 miles outside of Denver towards Evergreen somewhere (I was 6 when we left so don't remember much) in the mountains and I remember my parents taking us to Evergreen sometimes. Don't remember too much about the town because my memory is fuzzy about my very young childhood LOL but the name sticks in my mind. We moved to New Mexico the summer before I started 1st grade. Kindergarten was an option you paid for back then (dating myself I thing). Glad you get to go to this! I loved the unicycle story. It remind me that I had forgotton that I had a friend in high school who could ride a unicycle. She didn't do it a lot by then, more before I met her I think. She rode it in a local 4th of July parade one year. Small town and I think I only saw 1 or 2 others over the years on unicycles. However lots of people riding street or mountain bikes. Mountain bikes were often seen on the trails when I was in the mountains. I miss those mountains! Love to read your stories!

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TERI-RIFIC 7/8/2014 7:29AM

    Just looking at Chimney Gulch makes me nervous. Thanks for an entertaining and informative blog. Have a great time at the camp. I hope you blog about it. It's fun to read about things I would never do but look like great fun when others do them. I could hike those trails, though. emoticon


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BA5454 7/8/2014 7:04AM

    Bruce you make me hurt, lol. I loved the trail that had a 'few' rocks! Mountain biking is something I've never done, but I can see why you think it's safer than street/road biking. Hope you have a great time at bike camp! P.S. Too bad the unicycle is out of the picture, it's kind of a neat thing. Had no idea they even made them anymore.

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PMRUNNER 7/8/2014 6:18AM

    Have fun at camp! Sounds awesome!

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KA_JUN 7/7/2014 11:23PM

    MUNI, nice! Good to hear you're out there sending it on the trail! Ride on!

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CHARITYAK 7/7/2014 10:34PM

    I have a 2013 specialized stump jumper and adore it! Was always a Trek girl up to that point.

And recently did a 100K Tour de Cure and there was a guy who did the entire thing on a unicycle! What a stud!

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ROXYZMOM 7/7/2014 10:15PM

    I will bet learning how to ride that unicycle has helped you tremendously with riding your bikes on that tough terrain. I haven't ridden a unicycle, but can imagine it's all core.

Congratulations on your weight loss. I am so happy for you to be back on your bikes! Can't blame you for staying away from cars. That was a very long year for you!

Comment edited on: 7/7/2014 10:16:27 PM

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SHESMITH1 7/7/2014 8:50PM

    A true bike junkie! Don't ever quit!

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NATPLUMMER 7/7/2014 7:43PM

    Wow…a unicycle! I'm totally impressed!!
I'm glad your ankle is letting you get out to run and ride. Yay for 15 pounds!!

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KENDRACARROLL 7/7/2014 7:39PM

    Down 15 lbs! Nice!
Yup, just a couple of rocks here and there on the Apex trail :)
What little (hybrid) off road experience I have, I can't even imagine riding a trail like this.
I'll stick to hiking for the crazy terrain.
Training class sounds like fun.
Ride on & spark on.

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THINFITFEMINIST 7/7/2014 6:56PM

    emoticon emoticon

You and your bicycle adventures are an incredible look into the life of an extreme enthusiast. Love it!

You'll get into shape and you'll have a blast at the camp.

Congrats on the weight loss. That is awesome!

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Bike Ride Back to the Past

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Part 1: A Little History

On January 29th I had reconstructive ankle surgery that took a lot out of me. I was in a cast for 6 weeks, which seemed like an eternity. After the cast came off, I had 8 weeks of physical therapy. I finally got the okay from my doctor to run and ride.

I have always been very active. I found rest and recuperation like being in prison!


Part 2: Riding for Fitness

I have a lot of bikes. Each bike has is different. My all-purpose bike is a Surly Cross-Check. My Surly is decent pavement bike that can handle rough dirt roads and easy trails.

For my mountainous neighborhood, the Surly is a perfect fun and fitness bike.


I made a few changes to the Surly including lower gearing, knobby tires, better brakes and more comfortable saddle.


Part 3: High Meadow

Yesterday, June 22nd, I jumped on my Surly and took off for a long ride. Since it was likely to be dark by the time I got back home, I put my headlight and tail light on the bike. I wanted to ride a few miles on pavement then hit the dirt.

I decided to ride the High Meadow area. Fourteen years ago, on June 12, 2000, a carelessly discarded cigarette started a forest fire on High Meadow that burned 10,800 acres. We had to evacuate. On the ridges above my house was a 170 feet wall of flame.


This is a photo of the High Meadow fire. This condition is known as a "crowned-out" and reaches temperatures of over 2,200 °F.



The fire flared-up so quickly that many residents had to evacuate between walls of flame. We had less than 15 minutes to pack-up and leave. I was sure I had seen the last of my house.

As luck would have it, the fire burned directly away from my house. I was let through the police road blocks to get back to my house during the day. My house would shake when the slurry bombers would fly over. These planes came in very low.


The pilots that fly these planes are brave and skilled.



Part 4: High Meadow is Beautiful and Quiet Now

During the last 14 years the burned trees have fallen down and enriched the soil. The burn area is now a rich grassland that is full of berry bushes and wild flowers. I like riding through High Meadow because it is so beautiful.

As I rode along High Meadow the sun was starting to set.


I stopped to take a drink of water. There are very few houses in the burn area. There was no sound and it was a little spooky. I noticed I was near an overgrown driveway. For no good reason, I walked my bike down the driveway to the houseless foundation.


This house used to belong to a nice young couple that were our friends. Where the far end burnt log now sits, we had many dinners together and shared great conversation.

In the setting sun, I could remember what the house looked like. The house was nearly new and the view was spectacular.


There was a forest here once. The burned trees fell over as the years went by. This area provides great grazing and browsing for deer and elk.



If you have a good eye, you can see the burn area on the other side of the valley, which is slightly to the right of my bike.

Our friends never came back. They lost two dogs and cat in the fire. They were not allowed past the police roadblock to get their animals. My wife talked with them afterward. There was just too much pain and they did not want to rebuild.

I got back on my bike and rode home. I am not going to stop by the sad foundation again. I should not have stopped in the first place. The view is so pretty though.

Thanks for reading my blog.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HARRINGTON5 6/26/2014 5:30PM

    What beautiful pictures. You are such a good writer. I love reading your blogs. I was just checking in to see how you were doing.

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IFDEEVARUNS2 6/26/2014 11:05AM

    Heartbreaking.

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LINDAKAY228 6/24/2014 12:13PM

    Coming from New Mexico, I know also what those wildfires can be like! I lived in town and never had to evacuate but saw devastation around me from various fires. I have also hiked through areas that had been burned and seen the devastation, but also seen how things can grow back in a few years and both the good and the bad. My daughter's brother-in-law and family was living in Show Low several years ago when a huge fire went through the areas in and around there and they had to be evacuated. We had a fire that started on a main road into Silver City when a car pulled over and the catalytic converter started a fire on the dry weeds one spring when the winds were terrible. The area it started didn't have houses, but there were gusts up to 70 mph and the fire spread very very rapidly to a subdivision and the people there had minutes to evacuate. Due to the hard work of a whole slew of fire fighters from different levels of government only 5 houses were lost. That's still too many but it could have been worse. Last summer, in June, there was a huge wildfire about an 45 minutes by road from where we lived in the Gila National Forest. I'm so sorry for your friends and their loss and anyone else that has losses. I'm so glad you got to get out and ride the bike. Healing is a long slow process sometimes but you are making great strides now! I know what you mean about being in prison!

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NATPLUMMER 6/24/2014 11:37AM

    So sad and scary!! I would be devastated if I couldn't have saved my cats.
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LMB-ESQ 6/24/2014 9:26AM

    Wow, what a tragic story. And scary too! I can't imagine being chased down by walls of flame. I'm so sorry for your friends. I would feel terrible pain over the loss of my pets also. The pics of their foundation are haunting. Do you still keep in touch with them even though they didn't come back to the area?

I am always awestruck at stories of fire and the terrible devastation it leaves behind, as well as the rebirth afterwards.

Thanks for sharing this.

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PMRUNNER 6/24/2014 7:05AM

    Thank you for sharing, quite a story!

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ROXYZMOM 6/24/2014 6:59AM

    How tragic for your friends and everyone else who lost a home. I can't begin to imagine how scary that must have been for all of you. I hope that ride gave you some sort of closure. 14 years ago must have felt like yesterday during that ride.

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BA5454 6/24/2014 6:47AM

    Sad story--and sorry for your loss, because 'losing' friends to them moving away *is* a loss (I know the feeling). Good to hear the land is slowly coming back, Mother Nature can be a wonderful thing. And congrats to you for getting out there on the ride--here's to many more!

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THINFITFEMINIST 6/24/2014 5:39AM

    Wow, you were very fortunate. I'm with your friends - I would have not wanted to rebuild either. So sad.

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WEARINGTHIN 6/24/2014 12:51AM

    Thanks for the pics and the story. I imagine the bikes are probably some of the best exercise for you after the surgery. Best wishes, Glenn

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Rehab, Run, Ride, Lift and Track - Sounds Easy

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Part 1: Fighting to Lose Weight and Get Back in Shape

I know exactly the time and date that I was last in great shape. On August 19th 2011 at 12:00pm I was standing at the starting line of the Leadville 10k. This race is billed as "The Highest 10K Race in America". The starting line was at 10,152 feet of elevation.



Unfortunately, the start was botched. The Starter was supposed to go "1-2-3 Bang". Instead, she went "1-2-3-4 Bang"! Expecting the gun after the count of three, the pack surged ahead. When the racers realized the gun had not gone off, they stopped. I put on the brakes to keep from clobbering the person in front of me. As I slammed my right foot forward to stop, I suffered a grade III muscle strain in my right calf. I had severely tore and ruptured the calf muscle.


It felt like someone took a knife and sliced through my calf muscle. The pain was intense. But I thought I just had a cramp. I ran about a 1/2 mile and managed to get to the side of the road. I stretched the calf and kept running.



I stopped a lot during the race and turned in a terrible 72:12 minute time. My wife was wondering where I was. She knew I could run 10k in at little over 50 minutes even at high altitude. She snapped the above shot as I attempted to sprint toward the finish.


I was on crutches for a long time. I have never raced since. While recuperating I gained 10 pounds. Before the Leadville 10K disaster I had lost over 85 pounds and was pretty fast.

This also marks the time that I started looking for lower impact exercise. I started doing more biking than running. Prior to Leadville I was primarily a runner. I biked for fun and cross-training. After Leadville I became primarily a mountain biker. I ran to get in better shape for biking.


Part 2: Becoming a Roadie - Big Mistake

My torn calf took a long time to heal. There is sill a visible gash in my right calf muscle. In May 2012 I bought a superb full-suspension mountain bike I call "Ultra-Stumpy".


Ultra-Stumpy is a Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Carbon Expert model. This bike is made of carbon-fiber and titanium. Ultra-Stumpy is scary fast.

I live in the mountains of Colorado so good mountain biking terrain is at the end of my driveway. However, I work in downtown Denver, which is road bike country. I decided to buy a road bike. At first, I wisely had decided on a dual-purpose cross bike. But when I test rode a sport/racing road bike I changed my mind.


I bought a Specialized Allez. This bike is smooth and handles well. Compared to my mountain bikes, the Allez is wicked easy to pedal. My Allez is a pure road bike that can only be used on hard surfaces. Once the tires heat up, this bike rails through the sharpest corners. With modest pedaling effort, the Allez cruises at 30 mph on a level road.

I even bought a roadie outfit, including roadie shoes, roadie shorts and roadie jersey. I looked like a bona fide roadie. I was even temped to act like a bona fide roadie and sneer at lesser bikes, such as fat-tired cruisers, silly hybrids and, of course, those contemptible mountain bikes.
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Then came May 22, 2013. At 6:05pm a woman in a Toyota Forerunner made a turn in front of me as I rode down Cherry Creek bike path. I had the green signal. I had the right-of-way. She saw me coming. She was talking on her cell phone. She had a chance to stop and let me by. She pulled directly in front of me when I was 12 feet away. I had less than 9/10ths of a seconds to react before impact. No human being on earth could have avoided the collision.

Right before the impact. I closed my eyes and relaxed. The noise and pain were amazing.

Besides many cuts and bruises, I suffered torn ligaments and tendons in my right foot, torn ligaments and a torn labrum in my right shoulder rotator cuff, a severe concussion, and compressed discs in my neck.

I thought I was okay. I did not have my cell phone. I really needed an ambulance. But because of the blow to my head, I was not thinking straight. I was in shock.

These injuries eventually put a stop to my exercise routines. My ankle has been rebuilt but my shoulder and neck still cause me some difficulties. I elected not to have neck surgery. I have another round of intensive neck rehab coming. I have put off shoulder surgery. I don't want to go through the 6 months of healing and rehab until the winter.


This is a photo of my ankle a few weeks after surgery. I snapped this shot while getting fitted for a new cast.


This is a shot of my first cast. My leg has lost most of this definition during the healing phase.


Part 3: Weight Gain and Strength Loss

Since the Leadville 10K in August of 2011, I have gained 30 pounds. What is worse than gaining weight is my loss of strength and cardio-vascular conditioning. It is hard to get motivated when normal activity hurts. I am struggling to ride my bikes just half the distance I used to. Running is also challenging.

I have difficulty controlling my appetite if I am not active.


Part 4: My Plan - Rehab, Run, Ride, Lift and Track

I got to get back on track. I have been putting off more rehab on my neck because it really hurts. I got a good recommendation for a rehab specialist from a coworker that had the same neck injury. I work in health care and the coworker is a neural therapist and certified fitness trainer.

I got to bite the bullet and workout frequently. Right now, I can muster about one or two bike rides a week. I have to start running, not just riding.

I need to get more strength. I can start out with light weights. I have also been hit-and-miss on nutrition. I have been drinking too much beer because it makes the pain more bearable.

I guess I am lucky I have only put on 30 pounds.

Thanks for reading my blog.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TEDDYBABE2 6/22/2014 12:01AM

  Well old friend. Sounds like I joined Spark People just in time. You have more tenacity than most. Maybe smaller goals to start. You can do it!! Speedybabe emoticon

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BA5454 6/16/2014 6:40PM

    Oh gosh, I'm familiar with that race as I lived in CO for a number of years (but never ran it). So sorry to hear about your injuries, it seems like you have a good plan for tracking and rehab, though. Hope you keep your chin up (I kind of get the idea that being inactive may bother you) and good luck!

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KENDRACARROLL 6/16/2014 3:06PM

    Man, Bruce, that really sucks. Getting banged up and having to live in pain is just awful. Glad you're determined. Do what you can.
Better nutrition is a good place to start.
Wishing you well.

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BILL60 6/15/2014 8:45AM

    So sorry to hear your bad luck. The important thing to all of this is not to stop exercising. As long as it's safe, do it. I remember coming back from Viet Nam and having some serious lower extremity wounds. Luckily, I wanted to return to full duty ASAP and had to work through the pain and exercise. Good luck to you and keep the faith.

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NATPLUMMER 6/14/2014 11:04PM

    emoticon

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LINDAKAY228 6/14/2014 10:38PM

    I was in pretty much my best shape when I had the stroke too. And I've put on about 25 pounds since then. I lost a few of them but then went to see a friend for a few weeks and have put those back on I think although I don't have a scale at her place. Tuesday I fly back to TX and I've got to get serious too about really getting in shape and getting my nutrition under control. My balance is so messed up since the stroke that I'm hoping if I start working more on core training it will help. Sounds like we both have some serious work to do! But I know that both of us can do it whatever our methods may be. I know I can't use my health for an excuse. I used ot run some but not as much as you did. Now I can't run due to balance but I'm hoping that gets better with time. I can walk and hike though, although it is more painful and takes longer than it used to. But there is no holding us down!

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LMB-ESQ 6/14/2014 5:23PM

    You've just had one thing after another haven't you? I'm in the same place but I can't claim accidents as a reason. I just got lazy. 20 lbs up over a year and a half. I need to get back on track too and get my shape and strength back. We should hold each other accountable.

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THINFITFEMINIST 6/14/2014 3:22PM

    Wow, this is one of the most explanatory blogs about your total situation I've had the pleasure to read. I've got a fuller picture of what has happen and what you have endured. I know you like to be active and involved. I understand the feeling one gets when "they've made it" in weight loss/fitness. I also have gone through the downhill slide afterwards for my own serious reasons. And, like you I am on the slow path of recovery and making certain I do what is right for me to do for a total health picture.

If anything has Sparked me to get my butt in gear and do my lap at the mall tomorrow and every day next week and continue, it has been this blog.

Thank you my friend. Looking forward to your recovery and weight reduction.

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HARRINGTON5 6/14/2014 1:34PM

    OMG! You have been through so much! I know how strong and determined you are and I have faith that you will bounce back from these injuries. I stopped running for over two years because I have worn the cartilage down so much in my left knee that it is always swollen and used to hurt all the time. The surgeon told me surgery wouldn't help and I am not interested in a knee replacement, so I started walking and then jogging a little. I found a really good knee brace and with that I can jog enough to enter races again. I am not fast any more, but I am still in the game and at 66, I feel good about that. Take care of yourself and don't push too hard. I also put on about 30 pounds and I have been working this whole year to get it back off. I am almost there. My prayers are with you and I hope you recover quickly. You have a good frame of mind and that will help get you through. Hugs, Cynthia

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MJRVIC2000 6/14/2014 1:22PM

    You can do it! But it's going to take planning and commitment, along with lifestyle changes. God Bless YOU! Vic..

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A Bike Trail with No Name - Riding Big Nimby

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Part 1: No Name Trail

Glenwood Canyon was cut by the mighty Colorado River. Years ago there was a town of "No Name", which is now a rest stop.


In Spaghetti Westerns there was a man with no name.


About 2 miles from my house is a beautiful trail that has no trailhead sign, no trail markings and no name. Best of all, the trail has very little foot traffic and no bike traffic. Although a few parts of the trail are overgrown, the majority of the trail is in excellent shape.

The trail is also very pretty.


Here is my Canfield Nimble 9 beside a pristine little creek that also has no name. You may also notice that the Aspen trees have started to bud. However, few trees are fully leafed-out.



Here is a shot of Big Nimby further up the trail. The trial winds up a mountain that has no name. The trial drops into a valley that has no name - and climbs up a second peak that has no name.



Here is a "beauty shot" of my Nimble 9. This bike is unique because of a very short wheel base and very slack steering. I haven't learned to ride this bike to it's full potential yet.


Part 2: Endless Trail

I rode for over two hours up the trail at about 9 mph. After riding 20 miles, I still did not find the end of the trail. There are several offshoots from the main trail that are slightly overgrown. This trail is not even on any maps.

I think it may be a fire access trail. I rode this trail on Saturday, May 31st, and the weather was great! We have been getting a lot of rain, which has put a crimp in my outdoor activity. I mentioned previously that I can handle rain - but mountain lightning is really scary!


This is a typical mountain lightning. During a lightning storm you get off peaks and ridges. Unfortunately, lightning in the mountains tends to strike without warning. But so do squirrels!



This is a Abert's Squirrel. This fellow is named Squirrelzilla!

I like where I live. Thanks for reading my blog.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IFDEEVARUNS2 6/2/2014 1:02PM

    I would definitely avoid lightning!

Interesting squirrel; I wonder what my dog would think.

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LINDAKAY228 6/2/2014 12:21PM

    I am definitely more afraid of the lightening than the rain! When in Hawaii there was some rain every day, but the red clay there all over which was slippery is what worried me the most. If my balance was better it wouldn't so much. Especially when it went downhill. But when I was in New Mexico, pre-stroke, watched the sky for signs of lightening and in the summer those summer rains that came with lots of wicked lightening. Of course, sometimes you can't tell it's coming. And there was also the fires in the forest the lightening could cause, especially before things got soaked, that worried me. As you know, forest fire is nothing to play with. And early in the rainy season there (which usually started around the 4th of July) things were so dry that even with rain it wasn't enough to significanty reduce the fire danger for a while. Looks like you got in a great ride though on all those areas with no names!

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NATPLUMMER 6/2/2014 11:07AM

    No bike traffic means no rude girls to tell you off when they aren't paying attention.
Very pretty bike.

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BILL60 6/2/2014 7:35AM

    Good stuff. Thanks for sharing.

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THINFITFEMINIST 6/2/2014 5:39AM

    I didn't notice any supplies on the back of your bike. Are you prepared for any mishaps when you go off on adventures like this? I hope so.

Loved the pictures thanks!

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Part 2: Renewing a 2007 Specialized Stumpjumper Pro Disc - Little Stumpy is done!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Background

In 2012, the major bike manufactures stop producing high-end 26" wheeled mountain bikes. Currently, 99% of mountain bikes for sale in 2014 come with 29" or 27.5" wheels.

Bike industry experts predict that even tires for 26" mountain bikes will go out of production in the next decade.

In 2009, I bought a 2007Specialized 26" Stumpjumper Pro Disc as a leftover. In 2013, I bought a 2012 Specialized 26" Camber as a leftover. Both these bikes are really superb machines. I call these bikes "Little Stumpy" and "Little Cam" because both have "little" 26-inch wheels.


Part 1: Little Stumpy - Long in Tooth

After a bazillion hard miles, Little Stumpy was wearing out. A few years back, I could have found a great replacement for ailing Little Stumpy. But the days of good 26" mountain bikes are gone. I had no choice but to rebuild Little Stumpy.

I just didn't rebuild Little Stumpy. I made Little Stumpy new again. Here are the results.


Photos do not do the bike justice. Little Stumpy has a mirror-like finish. I replaced every moving part except the wheels. The front wheel was pretty new. I had to rebuild the rear wheel because the free hub and the bearings were shot.


This is Little Stumpy's new crank and pedals. Little Stumpy tips the scale at a shade over 26 pounds.


I put a larger front brake on Little Stumpy. Originally the bike cam with 160mm front and back. I kept the 160mm on the rear and installed a 180mm on the front. I also replaced the old 2012 Avid Juicy brakes with new 2014 Shimano Deore brakes. Little Stumpy's braking performance is greatly improved.


This is a side shot of Little Stumpy. The sun is reflecting off the top tube. This bike looks new again.


I decided to keep the original Specialized "Flame" handlebar. This handlebar with flames on either side of the stem is super rare and fetches a high price on eBay! Little Stumpy would not be Little Stumpy without flames!


Here is the new Shimano XT derailleur that I installed. I replaced the shifters, cables, cable housings, chain, crank and all derailleurs. Little Stumpy has a completely new drivetrain.

I also put a Specialized S-Works Purgatory tire on the front wheel and a Specialized Ground Control tire on the rear wheel.


After my first ride on the New Little Stumpy, I knew I had nailed the tires! Little Stumpy whipped around tight curves, on loose decomposed granite like he was glued to the ground! Bliss!


Part 2: Memorial Day Inaugural Ride at Elk Meadows in Evergreen, Colorado

The weather finally broke and the sun peeked through. I loaded Little Stumpy and Little Cam on the bike rack and headed for Elk Meadow in Evergreen, CO. This was not a great idea to try to ride the very popular Elk Meadows trail system on Memorial Day.



There were enough people there to eat the place! The parking lot had overflowed and cars were parked all along the access road. I managed to get a spot near the trail head. I should have turned around and gone to Beaver Ranch or Flying J.

Elk Meadows is not too far off I-70 and is easy to get to from Denver. Denver is a pretty healthy city and a trip to Evergreen is a good way to enjoy the great outdoors. Elk Meadows has a great combination of easy novice-friendly trails, up to expert-only rocky nightmares with steep switchbacks and nasty drop-offs.

In other words, perfect terrain to really give Little Stumpy a baptism. Here is a GPS map of Elk Meadows.


I am happy to report that Little Stumpy clobbered everything Elk Meadows had to offer! The bike shot up Bergen Peak and flew along winding single-track. There were a lot of hikers and, being a courteous bike, Little Stumpy was polite and asked permission to pass.

He even got a compliment. He overheard a hiker say to his companion, "Wow - That is a nice bike!"


Part 3: Do You Eat with that Mouth?

Little Stumpy and I climbed Bergen Peak. My ankle held up, but I am woefully out of shape. I had to rest a few times. Bergen Peak climbs 2,000 feet in three miles. If I keep riding and running, I will get in better shape.

While I was descending, I saw a young woman coming up the trail. She was on a 29er that looked a bit too big for her. She was dressed in a very fancy kit. She was approaching a steep, but very short rock garden. Her eyes were fixed directly on her front wheel.

This is bad little chunk of real estate. The rocks are rough, sharp, big and close together. I stopped right above the rock garden and tried to move aside. But the trail is narrow and there is not a lot of extra room.

She did not see me. She struggled up the rock garden and grazed my shoulder. She then screamed, "Jesu* Fuc**ng Chr**t slow down"! But I wasn't moving. I calmly replied, "You need to look where you are going... I really tried to say "ma'am"... but it came out "Honey".

I think she flipped me off. I just shook my head but Little Stumpy was upset!

Unfortunately, the foul-mouthed woman was not the only rude mountain biker I encountered. When I come up to hikers, I slow way down and say, "Please, excuse me" or "May I pass?" I then give them as much room as possible and thank them.

I saw one mountain biker yell, "BIKER COMING" and zoom past a group of hikers at warp speed! The problem is that every mountain biker gets tarred with the same brush. I can fly down a trail with the best of them. Little Stumps and I hit 24 mph on one treacherous stretch that was a series of two foot drop-offs. We were literally flying! However, we had a clear trail ahead.


Part 4: Good Bikes

After riding Little Stumpy at Elk Meadows, I drove over to “my” side of the mountain. I decided to ride Little Cam at Beaver Ranch. I have completely rebuilt Little Cam with high-end Shimano XT components and Fox Racing suspension. Here is a shot of Little Cam in his element:


I have to admit there is a noticeable difference between the smoothness and quickness of the more expensive Shimano XT components on Little Cam and the “budget” Shimano Deore components on Little Stumpy. Little Cam’s XT upgrade cost $1,032. Little Stumpy’s Deore upgrade cost $558. I know that seems like a lot but both bikes are bargains! A full-suspension bike equipped with Shimano XT components like Little Cam is about $5,000. A hardtail equipped with Shimano Deore components like Little Stumpy costs $1,800.



Brand new bikes have either 29” or 27.5” wheels. Little Cam and Little Stumpy have 26” wheels. Besides being a bargain, these 26” bikes really rip!


Part 5: I Have Tools

One of the reasons I can build bikes is that I have some great specialty tools.


I have a set of Spin Doctor bike tools. I got these tools for nearly half price on sale. I have a Nashbar headset tool.


Here is a shot of Little Stumpy getting a new Cane Creek headset. The Cane Creek Headset has sealed bearings and rotates very smoothly. Little Stumpy uses a 1 1/8" external cup headset, which is a little dated. However, the headset took the play out of the front fork.

The best investment was a bike work stand.


There is no way to do complex bike repairs without a stand. I have built three bikes and have developed some good skills. I worked as an auto mechanic before I decided to go to college so working with my hands feels normal.

Part 6: A Whole Lot of Speed

Neither Little Cam or Little Stumpy are fast bikes. According to my Garmin, Little Stumpy hit 27 mph at Elk Meadows; Little Cam topped 35 mph on the easier terrain at Beaver Ranch. I hit these speeds for only short intervals. Mostly, I traveled at 7 to 10 mph, which are more typical speeds when riding on dirt.

I am very happy. Both "Little" bikes are a tremendous amount of fun.


Here are the bikes loaded and ready to go home after a long hard day of fun.

Thanks for reading my blog.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NATPLUMMER 5/31/2014 8:19PM

    Glad you're out enjoying your bikes. Little Stumpy does look fabulous!
Shame on that girl.

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LINDAKAY228 5/30/2014 2:57PM

    Glad you had so much fun! You now have a really customized, one of a kind bike! Made the way you want. That' really neat. I don't ride, but there are paths that are paved and made more for street bikers than mountain bikers. They also are made for walking/running. I've seen them at Kaua'i, Hawaii and also inTexas. You are supposed to keep to the right, like driving, except when passing. You are also supposed to announce you are passing or ring a bell, both of which I'm probably boring you with and you already know. These trails are really popular, and in TX I''ve had many more announce what they were doing than when were in Kaua'i this week. I don't know if they are in vacation mode, or only ride when they rent the bikes on vacation to ride or what. But only a few people announced their attention. My friend and I were walking this one long trail and had several different bikes at times come up and pass us without us knowing they were there until they are going past. It would help so much if they would just say something! When not on vacation, the people I've ran into are usually very politie about road rules and they pass as they want but we at least know they are coming and passing.
You have done an amazing job with your bikes. I know you aren't done yet either!

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XXJDXX 5/30/2014 12:22PM

    Your blogs make me want to get out and ride, like as soon as I read them. Here in New England most trails don't have altitude, but they have attitude! I would love to ride out your way, and I will at some point. I imagine there are some pretty great scenes.

You worked wonders with the stumpy. I actually had the same thing in mind for my 96' GT Timberline, but then realized someone had put it out on big-trash pick-up day....so bummed. So much history put out with the trash.

BTW, I'm the same way on the trails when coming across anyone, hikers, bikers, horses... I always give the right of way but the majority of bikers I come across don't. I'll just keep doing what I'm doing though.

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IFDEEVARUNS2 5/30/2014 9:59AM

    Wow!
Impressive, and I think I even understood most of this. So glad you are enjoying your passion.

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ROXYZMOM 5/30/2014 9:01AM

    Thanks for sharing the map. It helped me "picture" your ride as you told it. Sounded like you rode by some stressed individuals!

I am so happy that you are out doing what you love again! You never gave up, despite all of your injuries.

emoticon

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THINFITFEMINIST 5/30/2014 5:46AM

    Have you ever considered writing for a bike magazine? I am totally entertained with your entries. Yes, I read them! LL

I am surprised that he trail you rode on allowed bikes and hikers. I have problems with pedestrian trails here in Boise, Idaho because of bicyclists not being polite. You are a jewel!!!

Glad your ankle is holding up to your level of use.

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