Saturday, July 16, 2011
I am pretty banged-up. My wife told me that if I were a horse I would have to put down! My latest adventure was about a week ago. I fell off my bike. I have a Specialized Stumpjumper mountain bike I call "Stumpy". This is a pretty fast bike, which is not what I really need.
I bought some new cleats for my bike shoes. Although I am pretty sure it is a bad idea to use pedal clips where I ride, I like the little bit of extra "umph" the clips give me. The cleats are Shimano SH56 SPD that are supposed to release in multiple directions. I had just been using the single direction-release cleats.
Armed with my new cool cleats, I headed to Slaughter House trail. I have found there are are certain places to avoid based on the name. Any ski slope nick- named the "Jaws of Death" is likely to be a unique experience. Trails named after fighter planes, outlaws or train wrecks may also tend to be difficult. Certainly a trail with the word "Slaughter" in the title should be avoided like the plague!
Of course, I am attracted to such places like a moth to a flame! With much the same results - crash and burn!
I tried the new cleats in the garage on Stumpy. Everything was great. I didn't even take any tools to adjust the pedal tension. Rookie mistake! I think the new cleats were just a tad bigger than my old cleats. at a critical juncture, there was a slight delay as I tried to kickout of my right cleat. Here is a photo essay.
This is Stumpy. Stumpy is a Plain-Jane bike that has subtle silver graphics. Bikes from discount stores are prettier.
Slaughter House trail is actually in very pretty country. I tad steep but very scenic.
Trail conditions on Slaughter House go to mildly rocky.
To insanely rocky. My Garmin shows that Stumpy and me hit 36.5 mph over some of this terrain.
Here are the predictable results. My right foot needed to come out of the pedal clip. The right foot did not come out of the pedal clip because the clip spring tension was too tight. By the time I kicked my heel out of the pedal, it was too late.
Here is another photo of my leg. This sorta hurt! The bruises are not quite visible.
I came home and adjusted the spring tension on the pedal. The spring tension was way too tight. Me and Stumpy are having fun. Today, I need to do some high-altitude running. I plan to run to Chicago Lakes on Mount Evans. The trailhead starts at 10,650 feet and tops out at 12,000 feet. I am pretty well healed. I few stumbles on the rocky Chicago Lake Trail will take care of my recovery.
Moth to a flame! Thanks for reading my Blog.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Part 1: We Are Getting Fatter
I recently read that Colorado has the lowest obesity rate all the states at 19.8%. Mississippi has the highest obesity rate at 34.4%. The study defined "obesity" as a BMI over 30. The bad news is that Colorado's obesity rate has doubled since 1995! The study also stated that 20 years ago no state had an obesity rate greater than 15%.
The United States is getting fatter. No surprise there! Colorado has a mild climate. People tend to move here to Colorado that enjoy the outdoors. Skiing, biking and hiking are big here. The population of Colorado is urban, affluent and educated. Mississippi's population tends to be poor and rural. The study says there is a correlation between income and obesity. Less affluent people have higher obesity rates.
I think that we here in Colorado have nothing to brag about. Colorado is getting fatter just like every other state.
Part 2: Bicycles Are Expensive (Maybe Not)
There is a joke here in Colorado that most bikers spend more on their bicycles that they spend on their cars! We have four good mountain bikes. Added up all the money we have spent on Bicycles and accessories. The total is $4,505. I know that a single bicycle can cost more. I was shocked to find our expenditure total to be so high.
This is a Specialized HardRock. The HardRock is considered to be an entry level bike at $420. This bike has an aluminum alloy frame, 21-speeds and good components. This bike belongs to my 19 year-old son, Andy.
Here is the bike my 21 year-old daughter Katie uses. She rides this bike all over her college campus. This bike is a Giant Boulder SE that goes for $380. This bike has an aluminum alloy frame and 21-speeds and is similar to the Hardrock in quality.
This bike belongs to my wife, Annette. This is a a Specialized Women's Myka Elite that lists for $940. This bike has a light-weight aluminum alloy frame, 27-speeds, disk brakes and great components.
This is my first Mountain Bike and is as reliable as a Swiss watch. This bike is a Giant Boulder SE that lists for $380. This bike has an aluminum alloy frame and 21-speeds. This bike has good components and has always shifted nicely. This was the first high-quality mountain bike I bought that started us all down the slippery slope of quality bicycles.
Now we get to the money pit. This is a Specialized Stumpjumper Comp that lists for $1,900. This particular bike is highly customized and has an extra $500 of high-end components. I got "Stumpy" for $1,600. A guy bought the bike and brought it back to the bike shop for refund. The bike was slightly used when I bought it. This bike is light and fast with 30-speeds, fork lockout and hydraulic disk brakes. It shifts like lightning even under heavy load.
Here is the advertising for Stumpy.
"The Stumpjumper makes no sacrifices in terms of weight, efficiency, agility, or ride quality. As the most technologically advanced cross-country hardtails available, they are ruthlessly built to pedal hard, climb fast and beat everyone on the World Cup circuit or local trails. Out of the box and race ready for XC, the Stumpjumper are for riders looking to climb fast and rail twisty singletrack."
Note this glowing description does not say "rocky trails". The ultra light tubes and tires went bye-bye after a few rides on rough trails. The sidewalls got destroyed. I bought Maxxis Minion tires for Stumpy.
These tires are tough!
Unfortunately, these tires weigh 8 oz more than the original tires. Total investment in tires, tubes and mounting was $123.87! Because Stumpy has odd-ball Presta valve stems, I had to drop $75 on a new tire pump. My total cost for new tires and a Presta tire pump was $199, which is more expensive than most entry-level bikes.
This is a Schwinn Sidewinder mountain bike available at Walmart for $164. This bike weighs about 36 to 40 pounds and has twist grip shifters, 21 speeds and linear pull brakes. It is rated 4 out of 5 stars on the Walmart site. Walmart sells a tire pump that would fit this bike for $21. (this bike has the standard Schrader tire valve so any tire pump will work). Total investment for bike and pump is $185 or $14 less than Stumpy's tires.
Now you cannot" ruthlessly pedal" with a Schwinn Sidewinder. Twist grip shifters are vague and the chain tends to rattle when changing gears.
If you are still with me I am trying to think up a point to all this. Inexpensive bikes may not last as long as the high-end bikes. But if you have a Schwinn Sidewinder you will not have to replace bikes as often as Stumpy needs new tires. You will be dollars ahead. Stumpy is a money pit.
Thanks for reading my blog.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
In March I signed up to run The Mount Evans Ascent, which is one of the meanest and nastiest road races in the world. This race starts at 10,600 feet of elevation and ends at 14,260 feet. The race is 14.5 miles and is all uphill.
To cut to the chase - I didn't run the race. $75 shot to heck!
When I registered for the race in March I had four months to get ready. At the time, I could do 5K at 8,600 feet of altitude in a tad over 26 minutes. I trained hard. By April I could run 16 miles at an 11 minute pace at 9,000 feet. I knew I needed to train at higher altitude. There is a lot of snow on the ground in April in the Colorado Rockies.
This is a photo of my deck in April.
I wanted to at least get up to 11,ooo feet. On April 17, I decided to run Webster pass. I managed to get to 10,800 by running through some snow drifts. Webster pass is pretty steep and mostly up hill. I the good news I ran 9 miles up the pass at a 12:07 min/mile pace.
Steep hill at high altitude - fun! (NOT)
On the way down the pass I stepped in a hole and partially tore my ACL.
Sayonara left knee.
My doctor told me to stay off the knee for 4 to 6 weeks. My left knee had been taking a beating my whole life. The first injury was in 1976 when I took a block below the waist during a college football game and suffered a traumatic meniscus tear and torn ACL. (BTW - I stayed in the game after the injury) Darn did that hurt!
The next blow came at Steamboat Springs on a ski slope when a binding didn't release. Bye, bye medial collateral ligament! Another blow came at Copper Mountain in 1984 during a slow twisting fall. So long posterior cruciate ligament.
I like this quote from Raiders of the Lost Ark:
"Marion: You're not the man I knew ten years ago.
Indiana: It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage."
Two weeks after I hurt my knee on Webster pass I ran the Long Scraggy 4.25 mile race on April 30th. My knee was pretty wobbly but I managed a 10:06 min/mile pace. I just couldn't go any faster. A week later I ran the Lake George 5K at a 9:01 pace. That was everything I had. I came in 14th out of 100 runners.
I still had two weeks until the Mount Evans race and I am thinking I have a chance to make it. Then I hurt my back. I don't even know how I hurt it. I went to bed feeling fine and woke up injured. I could train on a wobbly knee but I could barely walk with a hurt back.
I just started running again following the tried and true Couch-to-5K program. I am back to square one. I think I can make a 4th of July 5k race. I am registered for the Leadville 10K on August 14th. I should be able to make that race.
My wife thinks I am clumsy. She is afraid I will fall off a mountain some day. She may have a point!
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Since I ran the Lake George 5K I have not taken a single running step, nada not a one! I have been trying to heal my left ACL. My knee was unstable during the race and hurt really badly.
I think I can start slowly working the knee. I am going to do cardio on the elliptical. The Mount Evans Ascent is in three weeks. The problem I face is I am not in good enough shape to run 14.5 miles starting at 10,600 feet and ending at 14,264 feet of elevation. I was really doing well before I blew my knee out.
I have my work cut out for me.
Highest road race in North America. All uphill!
"Race course" 3,000 feet higher than trees can live!
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