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Running the Beaver Ranch Trail - No Beaver Anywhere

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mountain runners have a saying:

"The closer you get to Heaven the more it feels like Hell!"



I am training for the Leadville 10K that is scheduled for August 14th. I am really trying hard not to hurt myself again. About a month ago I started to rehab my left knee. I had partially torn my ACL by stepping in a hole while running on Webster pass in April. I ran a couple of races on my wobbly knee and did not do well. About the time my knee started feeling better, I injured my back! As a result of my injuries, I missed the Mount Evans Ascent on June 18th . I could not run a step from May 29th to June 26th. Completely out of shape, I started running again doing the C25K program.

Sheesh, as I wrote the above "story of my life", I started thinking all this stuff sounds pretty pathetic.

I am trying to train smarter. I started riding my bike a lot more on pretty easy terrain. I started doing a lot more stretching. I was taking it easy with my running by doing sensible interval training on the nice soft track at the local high school.

All this sensible stuff just sucked! I hit technical trails on my bike. As a result I managed to get a few minor flesh wounds. But the hard trails were fun! If it ain't fun, I have a hard time getting motivated.

I knew my conservative running schedule was not going to help me get up the hill at the Leadville 10k. This race starts at 10,000 feet of elevation and goes up from there. I hit the trails. I ran the Flying J trails and had an enjoyable 5k run in beautiful surroundings.

I got new shoes a couple days ago and had to break them in right. I headed for Beaver Ranch. First, let me say I am fine and didn't break, bang or destroy any critical body parts. The following is a photo essay of my training run.


Beaver ranch is not a high-dollar part of the Jefferson County open space park system. This is a normal Park County low-dollar trail that is "technical" because nature is trying to push out the invaders and nobody is fighting back!


There is a porta-potty at the trail head that is reasonably clean. Beggars cannot be choosers. Compare this to a typical Jefferson County facility.


This is the modern restroom at the Flying J. However, lots of people use the Flying J, justifying the cost. The advantage of Beaver Ranch is solitude.


Here is my trusty Corolla all by its lonesome.


A silent winter warrior stands ready to do its duty. Rusty and beat up,this truck is worth its weight in gold when the snow starts to fly.

My new shoes are ready for action!

Nike Zoom Vomeros are not trail shoes. I find trail shoes are too heavy in size 13.

This is a nice set of trails. However, trying to find the overgrown routes can be a challenge.


This trail map does not say "you are here". The map does show "P" for parking or porta-potty. Really doesn't matter which one.

This is a new and welcome sign. I think this blew the entire yearly budget.


Of course, I got a good idea why this sign is here. The trail looks inviting to a 4x4.

Obligatory sign warning of bears and mountain lions.


I find it interesting that there are no beavers at Beaver Ranch. There is a beaver up on Kenosa pass that we have named "Bridgestone". Bridgestone is bent on flooding the Kenosha valley and depriving Denver of its water source. Bridgestone is a brave little rodent for taking on the mighty Denver Water Board! Now if Bridgestone could dam the Colorado River California would become a budget wasteland and Vegas would become a desert supported by gambling and prostitution. No wait... never mind.


Back at No Beaver Ranch there is even a trail head sign.


Not pretty but effective. The scenery is pretty. We have been getting lots of rain. The fire danger is low and everything is nice and green.


One runner (moi), 65 degrees, 8280 feet elevation, light breeze, crystal clean air, new shoes, great scenery, good legs, hydration belt, wild flowers in bloom and birds singing. Does it get better than this? I think not!


About a mile down the smooth trail is this rustic bridge. At this point I am flying down the trail at an 8 min/mile pace. The nice smooth trail is about to go bye-bye. The new shoes feel great.

Gracious, these stairs are new. Is there no end to the lavish spending on improvement?


I am curious why the stairs are wide at the bottom and narrow at the top. I suspect half way up they starting running out of money and had to economize. Just a theory.

Up the stairs and up the hill. My pace is about to get a lot slower.

I took this shot in attempt to show that the trail is sort of steep at this point.

There are a few more steps up the trail a bit.


There is a Frisbee golf course along the trail. I think that is weird.

Now the trail gets interesting.


Steep and rocky. My pace gets even slower.


This is a long and treacherous uphill stretch. I decided to go up the hill. There is an option to go around the hill. Still have to climb but it is a lot safer.


There is a part of this trail that is so overgrown that it disappears for 1/4 mile. This is not "technical".

The down hill is steep and has a few hazards.


This is the beginning of the descent. The trail profile is all up then all down. The trail does not "roll" up and down. Legs feel like rubber here


This is looking "up" the downhill section. I wanted to get a good shot of the roots. The way I get these shots is to go over the trail once I finish running. I slowly jog or walk parts of the trail to take photos. My photos tend to be of the beginning and end of the trail. I often don't want to do the trail all over again. Carrying my camera helps me cool down.

How did I do on my run? I ran 4 miles in 42 minutes. My average pace was about 10:30 min/mile. With my left knee pretty much healed, I could roll on the downhill sections. My fastest pace was 5:42 min/mile. The steepest part of the trail was a 45% grade. I felt pretty strong during my run. However, I am a long way from be able to do well during the Leadville 10K. I still have a little time to train.

The parking lot is actually pretty big.


This gives me an idea. I think I could organize a trail race here at Beaver Ranch. There is ample parking. I can rent another porta-potty. I have five grown children that can work the race. I have a canopy and long folding table for registration. We have several laptops and printers to help with registration. The trail has just a few technical parts but could be routed to minimize the difficult terrain. My daughter is graduating with a degree in communications and would know how to advertise and promote the race. We have big water jugs. My wife likes to do this sort of stuff. The trail is wide with only a few choke points. I know where to get bib numbers. I know everybody around here and could get sponsors pretty easily. The course is almost exactly 4 miles. 8,200 feet of elevation is not ridiculously high. My good friend John organizes the Long Scraggy trail race and could give me pointers.

I would have to think up a name like the "Beaver Ranch 4 Mile Trail Race". There are tons of good charities that are hungry for money.

Would any of you be up for a trail race?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ITSHOWYOULIVE 7/28/2011 12:12AM

    If I lived, or were visiting in, Colorado I would LOVE to try your race :). Warning: I would be the last across the finish line and would make you wait a bit for me, but I would do it for the views alone. Lovely run and AWESOME times. Glad the knee is cooperating and doing much better. Cool shoes too :). Happy trails :). (Now I've got Happy Trails to youuu stuck in my head-lol)

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SUZWARNR 7/27/2011 6:23PM

    I always love reading your blogs. But no, I would not be up to a trail race. No trail running for this girl. I'll stick to the roads. :) But good luck with your 10K. I think the idea of organizing a race sounds like a cool idea. Take it and "run" with it.

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BARBIETEC 7/27/2011 5:04AM

    I loved this blog! Looking at the pictures made me run it with you!!!!

how awesome!!!!

You are rocking it!

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DLEDBETTER11 7/26/2011 4:57PM

    Sooooo Jealous!!!We have one trail and it is so dangerous (100 ft. drop offs into the river).

Love the pictures!

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ANNIE7205 7/26/2011 1:51PM

    I live in WI, but have an aunt and uncle in Colorado that I keep meaning to visit. I can't promise anything, but I would definitely consider it.

Beautiful pictures!

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KKINNEA 7/26/2011 12:47PM

    Sure, I'll come out and run really slow! Keep us informed!

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NOELLIEMAE 7/26/2011 11:06AM

    I would SO come to your race :) sounds like a good excuse to get back home anyway :) I was notified I have to move in a year.... With all your BEAUTIFUL pics you making me seriously consider trying to get a gig out in Colorado Springs instead of staying on the East Coast or heading to TX..... mmm.... Colorado Mountain air.... looooove it!


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BLACKROSE_222 7/24/2011 4:15PM

    I might just consider a trip to come to that. It looks beautiful!

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CBAILEYC 7/23/2011 3:17PM

    1st) Congrats on not hurting any vital body parts! WooHoo!

2nd) OhMyGoodness! I always envy your runs because they're simply beautiful. If I were closer, I'd be all about your No-Beaver trail run! It looks great. Keep us update if you go forward with this. Good luck!
C~

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SWIMMERM0M3 7/23/2011 2:16PM

    Thanks so much for the entertaining blog. It is essays like this that help inspire me to keep putting on the running shoes, hitting the pool, and lifting those weights, but not necessarily at the same time. emoticon

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WALKOFFWIN 7/23/2011 1:44PM

    Good luck with your ambitious plans for the race, thanks for the educational and entertaining trail photo blog, and here's to wishing you get and stay healthy, and enjoy running well.

From a former warrior who now rides on two wheels, instead of pounding on two bad knees,

Chris
emoticon

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NORAB52GOOD 7/23/2011 1:39PM

    Corolla owners unite!!! Love mine still (since 2001). emoticon

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LMB-ESQ 7/23/2011 1:24PM

    You make it sound fun! I'll come! Oh, wait... I don't live anywhere near Denver. But if I ever visit there, I know what trail I'm checking out!

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DRPOOH63 7/23/2011 1:13PM

    Great pics. Thanks for sharing and good luck on your run.

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ELYMWX 7/23/2011 12:06PM

    TL;DR, except for the most important thing: "I am fine and didn't break, bang or destroy any critical body parts."

Actually, that's a lie. I did read it - love the pics! I've had an evil thought a couple times, thinking I could organize a run/kayak duathalon on Gabriola Island... The only problem is, none of my kids are grown up!

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MOMONTHERUN1 7/23/2011 9:43AM

    That is an amazing trail. The scenery is gorgeous!!! You can do this race and I love those shoes.

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LINDAKAY228 7/23/2011 9:43AM

    Looks so beautiful there! I'm not quite up to running that technical and uphill trail yet as I am fairly new to running but do a lot of hiking and would love to hike there and maybe someday run. Thanks for sharing such awesome pics. Good luck if you do set up your trail race.

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MEGA_MILES 7/23/2011 9:38AM

    Looks like a great place. I definitely like the places that are more rustic and deserted over the plush busy places.

I think your idea for a race is great. Now go do it!! emoticon

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Running on Hot Concrete - Ouch!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I posted on my status yesterday that I was burning alive because the temperature was 75 degrees. Some of my SparkFriends from warmer climates were amused at my heat wimpiness. I live at 9,000 feet in the Rocky Mountains. The temperature should not get so high here!

Here is what I am used to.

I took this photo on February 6th. The temperature was a comfortable 20 degrees F. I run in shorts at any temperature down to 20 degrees F.

I had to go to Denver yesterday. I took my running stuff. After my appointment, I decided I was tough enough to run on the High Line Canal trail during the heat of the day. Temperature was 97 degrees F when I stepped on the "trail". I figured that the low elevation of 5,876 feet would make up for the blast furnace heat.

Bad idea!

First, I had forgotten to bring any means of hydration. I have a great hydration belt and a hydration vest.


This is a Nathan Trail Mix Waistpack. This hydration belt holds two 10 ounce bottles.


This is my hydration vest. I use this vest on long runs and bike rides. This is an Ultimate Direction Wasp that holds 64 ounces of fluid. So I had a total capacity of 84 fluid ounces that was all at home 45 miles away.

I warmed-up, slugged down some Gatorade, made a pit stop and started running. Dang it was hot! I also found that most of the trail was concrete. I almost exclusively run on dirt. Concrete is a very hard surface.


Even though it was hot, I was a little faster than a few days ago. I did 5K in 30:28. Afterwards my feet were sore and my left knee hurt. I suspected my shoes were toast. While running on dirt I had no issue with my shoes. My log showed I had 436.82 miles on my shoes. I took my shoes over to the Boulder Running Company and had them checked. My shoes were totally wiped-out! Nike Zoom Vomeros are not long-lived shoes.



The shoe fitter at the Boulder Running Company told me that Nike Vomeros are made to be as soft as "Marshmallows". I knew the shoes would break-down quickly.

The Boulder Running Company in Littleton had to get the new Vomeros sent from the Boulder Store. I am leaving to pick up my new shoes now. Even with my new shoes I am going to avoid concrete. I admit I am a heat wimp and concrete wimp!

emoticon

Thanks for reading my blog.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NOELLIEMAE 7/26/2011 11:15AM

    bahahaha!!! Tough run my friend :) 450 ish miles is just about the perfect time to replace the shoes... Hope you like your new kicks!

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CBAILEYC 7/21/2011 4:38PM

    Nothing wrong with avoiding concrete if you can! I always find the trail to be much more.. better somehow.
emoticon
C~

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BARBIETEC 7/21/2011 10:59AM

    wow you run fast! I loved your before and after pictures!!!

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GRATEFULBOB 7/21/2011 5:27AM

    the heat does stink , how was the humidity? here in nj i feel it makes it hotter and harder to run.

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LMB-ESQ 7/20/2011 11:21PM

    LOL I don't know why this strikes me as funny. My mother (mother nature, that is) taught me to stay off of hot concrete when I was about5 years old. That was when I got burned playing jacks on the sidewalk. Then again, I live in a climate where the common saying is, "don't like the weather? Wait 5 minutes."

Here's to trail running and new shoes!! emoticon

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TEDDYBABE 7/20/2011 7:21PM

    Kudos on the new shoes. Wish I could say I felt sorry for you about the heat..... but ... sigh... It's an appreciation lesson!! lol We haven't been below 97 for the last month!! Averaging 100 to 101. It's a ridiculous year. But I agree about the concrete. I love my dirt also. Speedybabe.

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ELASTI-GIRL 7/20/2011 7:09PM

    I'm with you: Trails please!! Way to go on a tough run, though. Have you thought of trying VFFs? (www.vibramfivefingers.com). Where I used to replace shoes every 4 months, my VFFs have lasted me over 2 years, injury free. You sound like a minimalist runner, so it might be up your alley.

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KKINNEA 7/20/2011 6:04PM

    Hye they canceled our race here in MN so I think it probably can be too hot! Can't imagine running in shorts in 20 degrees - 40 is my limit!

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L3DESIGNS 7/20/2011 6:01PM

    Enjoy your new shoes... And I agree about avoiding hot concrete...

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Trail Running, Bikes and Squirrels

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

As most of you know, I live in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Last Saturday I wanted to go to Mount Evans and run the Chicago Lakes trail. I can see Mount Evans (14,260 feet) from my house. There were serious storm clouds on the peak. Not good!

I decided to go for an easy run at Flying J Ranch nearby. I have been trying to rehab a bad knee by doing the C25K training program. I had been running on the local high school track, which has a beautiful resilient surface. Running in a circle is boring. The Flying J trails are well maintained. I have included some photos of the Flying J.

This sign tells a little bit about the Flying J Ranch. This is not raw wilderness any longer.


I think it is always good to know where you are and where you are going.


Bears and lions live in the Rocky Mountains - well duh! I didn't think this sign was referring to Chicago or Detroit!


I personally prefer Squirrels to lions and bears. Squirrels are my favorite animals. Some people around here call Squirrels "Tree Rats". I think Squirrels are hilarious!

The Squirrel pictured above is an Abert's Squirrel. They live around here and are pretty rare elsewhere.

This is a Pine Squirrel. Predictably, these little guys live in pine trees.

Pine Squirrels are very noisy and chatter like crazy. They also bombard you with pine cones. I told you Squirrels are funny little animals.

Rocket J. Squirrel in action! I think if Squirrels were just half the size of bears they would be invincible!



This is a pretty trail at the Flying Ranch Park where I ran on Saturday.

People ride their mountain bikes on this trail. A few roots and an occasional rock make this a nice trail for a bike. Everybody you meet on these trails are friendly.

I think this trail looks inviting. You can see it disappear into the distance. Although this trail is quite smooth, I can still fall down.


Near the parking lot are picnic pavilions. It was raining when I finished my run. I did my post-cardio stretching on a picnic table. Rain in Colorado is about one degree above freezing.


There is even a great outhouse that is heated and has flushing toilets. I would rather to go to places where Daniel Boone would go to get away from it all. Although I have to admit that the Flying J has all the comforts of home.


So how did I do running? I didn't wound myself! I ran 3 miles in 33 minutes, which is not setting the World on fire. But I felt pretty good after this short run. I am also riding my bike on days when I am not running. Sunday I took my "safe" bike for a ride.

I have names for my bikes. Stumpy is my Specialized Stumpjumper. Big Red is my Giant Boulder Se. Big Red has 21-speeds, aluminum frame, solid components, and adjustable forks. This bike is pretty good on dirt roads and easy trails. At $380 this is a lot of bike for the money.


I always wear a helmet. A few scrapes and bruises on a leg is nothing compared to a whack on the head.

Thanks for reading my blog!


  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUZWARNR 7/21/2011 6:27PM

    I love hearing about your running adventures. I'm glad it went well for you. If it were me on those trails, I'd probably be the one falling down. Happy running! I am back at it on Sunday.

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LMB-ESQ 7/20/2011 11:31PM

    Squirrels are so goofy! We have a couple living in a tree by our back porch. They sit on the porch rail and torment my dogs. And yes, I think they do it on purpose. The ones I see on my bike rides I like to call "kamikaze squirrels." That's because they either sit in the street until you are on top of them, or they sit on the side until you get real close, then they run out in front of you. It's difficult to avoid them because you never know which way they're going to run until the very last second. I think they do that on purpose too. They are either really, really smart tree rats, or really, really stupid tree rats. I haven't decided which. I think they like to keep people guessing!

You live in beautiful country!

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KA_JUN 7/20/2011 9:32AM

    Nice report and pics!

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MAGGIENCALI 7/20/2011 2:11AM

    Squirrels are great until they start eating your flowers. Then they stop being cute. Sounds like you had quite an adventure, Bruce. One day I will make it to Colorado.

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CAROLYN1ALASKA 7/20/2011 12:42AM

    I prefer squirrels to bears or mountain lions too. Luckily, we don't have mountain lions here... for which I am so thankful!

Both kinds of bears though... emoticon

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ELYMWX 7/19/2011 11:39PM

    Chipmunks are small squirrels with attitudes. I think it's kind of like the small dog syndrome. I shudder to think of what would happen if I ever ran across a chipmunk the size of a squirrel.

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LKEITHO 7/19/2011 10:27PM

    Great job on the run! And great pictures of the squirrels!

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LOREENYK 7/19/2011 1:10PM

    YAY for not getting wounded!

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ANNIE7205 7/19/2011 11:53AM

    Great pics and description. Sounds like you're making the best of your recovery!

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ELISEL 7/19/2011 10:45AM

    Awesome run. I enjoy watching the crazy squirrels too although I prefer chipmunks...they're so cute. Although they have a bad habit of coming out of nowhere on my runs and almost giving me a heart attack.

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KKINNEA 7/19/2011 10:23AM

    Those look like good trails for recovery. I never turn down a nice bathroom myself :) Keep going safe until you heal up - then go crazy!!

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DLEDBETTER11 7/19/2011 9:53AM

    Awsome pictures. I pick running trails much the same way - less traffic and more trees :)

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ERLYWA 7/19/2011 9:03AM

    Love the blog! The flying squirrel picture (and your caption to it) made me laugh :)



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NOELLIEMAE 7/19/2011 8:57AM

    I knew I liked you for more than your super Sparkers status :) I'm a displaced Colorado chick.... I'm stuck in the South... Your Pics make me soooo want to go home! Hey! Speaking of crazy Colorado... Did you hear about the 13 yr old who was mauled by a bear out there last week??? Unfortunately he was my best friend's son... he made it through Ok though!
I can't wait to see your next outdoor adventure!

Noel

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NTSOHLTHNT 7/19/2011 7:07AM

    You live in an awesome place!

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MARATHON_MOM 7/19/2011 6:37AM

    Wow, what a great place to run or ride! Way to go on getting back in the game!

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TEDDYBABE 7/19/2011 6:33AM

    Oh the squirrel pictures are awesome! 3 miles in 33 minutes would be a "world on fire" for me! lol Beautiful trail. Absolutely beautiful. I must say after my quick trip through Colorado it is my new favorite destination. Loved it there. Sounds like you are doing well with your "on the mend"! Congrats!

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GRATEFULBOB 7/19/2011 6:06AM

    that looks like a great place to do your exercise

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I fell off my Bike - So what else is new?

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.

Bruce





  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ELASTI-GIRL 7/20/2011 7:12PM

    Awesome injuries! I do trail races in our region that can leave the legs looking almost as bad, depending on how technical the terrain. I've thought about the quick-release shoes for biking but I'm chicken! After looking at your pics, I think I'll stick with my routine. Great report!

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BLACKROSE_222 7/18/2011 10:17AM

    I'm sorry you hurt yourself, but I have to laugh - as far as clutzyness is concerned, we were separated at birth. Hope you are healing well, and ensuring your wife you are okay! emoticon

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WEEZIE30 7/18/2011 9:06AM

    Oh no! At least you didn't break anything!

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CAROLYN1ALASKA 7/17/2011 8:50PM

    Hope you heal quickly!
I hate when you buy new pedals and/or cleats which either release when you're climbing a really steep hill, (using one to catapult onto the top tube with incredible force), because they're adjusted too loose, or cause you to have the kind of accident you had because they were too tight!
That (the first example) happened to me this spring and made me feel very fortunate to be a female rider. emoticon

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KA_JUN 7/17/2011 8:43PM

    Ha! Nice pics! Really like how you contrasted the trail to the trail with the jeep on it! Heal up fast, those are some fast speeds on trail, for sure! emoticon

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LKEITHO 7/16/2011 10:46PM

    Definitely does not look comfortable! Hope everything works alright for the run.

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KKINNEA 7/16/2011 10:19PM

    Crazy - you take a licking and keep on ticking!

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ELYMWX 7/16/2011 6:47PM

    Those cuts are nothing - I should show you the back of my leg where my front chainrings ran into them last Wednesday after I hit a rock with my pedal. The bike stopped, I didn't, then the bike bounced off the rock and hit me. And it was when I was getting out of the parking lot, no more than 20 feet from my truck!

The bruises, on the other hand, I have nothing to compete with.

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MEGA_MILES 7/16/2011 6:31PM

    Conversation starter???

Looks like no one will get a word in emoticon

I'm glad to hear your back up and out.

Ride on!!!!

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ARCHIMEDESII 7/16/2011 3:48PM

    Any fall a rider can walk away from is a good one !! So, I'm glad you're okay even if you're a tad banged up.

A co-worker of mine was riding his bike on the street when he hit some sort of bump in the road. Well, the bike suddenly stopped and he went up and over the bike handles. broke both his elbows. Now that was an unusual fall.

Yeah, I'm a big believer that if you can walk away from any kind of accident, you're doing okay.

Hope you're feeling better ! Just look at those cuts, scraps and bruises as a great conversation starter !!


emoticon emoticon

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MAGGIENCALI 7/16/2011 3:35PM

    Ow, Bruce. Got to be careful. I have to admire your tenacity.

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SLENDERELLA61 7/16/2011 2:42PM

    Sorry, Bruce, that your search for health led you to injury. However, seems like you are recovering well and not going to let it stop you or even slow you down! Keep up the good work -- moth to the flame and all!

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L3DESIGNS 7/16/2011 2:25PM

    Ouch! Looks painful... Hope it is healing...

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CBAILEYC 7/16/2011 1:54PM

    I recall chuckling at your final comment on one of your blogs a bit ago that your wife is worried you'll fall off a mountain. The more you post, the more I understand your wife LOLOL

I'm glad you're back up and going again, and hope you experience LESS bumps along the way!
emoticon
C~

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SHRINKINGSHERI 7/16/2011 1:02PM

    I still use toe clips and straps as well. Put them back on my bike after trying to go clipless and ended up pulling lots of gravel out of my leg/knee/arm/elbow.



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KCNEWF 7/16/2011 12:57PM

    Nice work! I still use toe clips and straps but am tempted to go clip less. Do you really see the overall benefit of going clip less in your mountain biking?

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Skinny Colorado and Bicycles

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.

Bruce

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LUKEDADDY 7/12/2011 11:15AM

    I bought a Schwinn Mesa back in '04. It came with a pretty decent setup of Shimano Deore components...MSRP about $500 but I was working at a company that had an Employee Purchase program with Schwinn...got the bike for $250.

Over the years, I have replaced just about everything. New Wheels (original MTB tires though), upgraded to Avid BB7 brakes, upgraded Shifters and Rear Deraileur to SRAM X7, Azonic Big Drop saddle (a lifesaver for us non-stick figures), next up is a new fork...but my Manitou 6 is still holding in there. Considering that my weight has fluctuated between 225 and 280 since owning the bike...I would say that is a pretty good endorsement for my low end Schwinn!!

Point being, even if you want the high end components, you can always buy a lower end bike and upgrade!

For anyone having "Flat" issues...the easiest fix for this is to put more air in the tires. My bro was complaining that his roadie was eating tubes during rides. I asked him what his pressure was and he told me 120psi. My bro is about 215lbs...I told him to pump it up to 140psi or so and his issues have gone away. Road tires should be hard, and you should check the pressure before EVERY ride...they tend to go flat quickly.

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ITSHOWYOULIVE 7/10/2011 9:16PM

    I have a Univega mountain bike with twist shifters and it has been enough for me for something like 15 years. Now that I am looking at a hybrid or street bike I can still get into an entry bike for well under $300. It will be enough until I decide whether I will be a casual rider or want to seriously look at tri's. Bikes are a great way to get fit and our air quality would be soooo much better if more people used their bikes for simple trips/errands. I'm looking forward to the day when I'm not required to carry three children with me everywhere I go (all 3 will be in school full time starting in 2012) and can use the bike for more errands and small trips (library, fave out of neighborhood runs, etc). Great info-thanks!!

Comment edited on: 7/10/2011 9:17:40 PM

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HARRINGTON5 7/10/2011 5:47PM

    WOW, I had no idea what bikes cost these days. My bike has a hugh seat and fenders (just so you know my frame of reference).
It does make sense that lower income families would be heavier because the cheapest foods are the worst ones for you. Interesting facts about us fat Americans though. I have drastically changed the way I eat and to tell you the truth, I thought I would be way skinny by now. I know I am healthier, but I want to lose this last twenty pounds and it is taking forever. If slow and steady is the answer, I should get there eventually.
emoticon

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SHRINKINGSHERI 7/10/2011 12:35PM

    I have two "cheap" Schwinn bikes...a road bike and a hybrid. I love them both. The only problem I have had with the road bike is it eats tubes. I had to invest in some good rim tape and the self-sealing tubes.

I love the hybrid except for the fact that it weighs so much more than the road bike. On the upside, I do get a much better leg workout on it. emoticon

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LKEITHO 7/10/2011 12:05PM

    Just as bad as my road bike for expenses! Glad to know I'm not the only one in this boat. I haven't gotten into mountain biking at this point, so at least I don't have two different money pits to worry about. Could be worse, I guess. Besides, I think we are better off spending the money and getting all the health benefits than if we didn't do it!

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ELYMWX 7/10/2011 11:52AM

    I'll stick to my Diamondback :-)

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GRATEFULBOB 7/10/2011 11:46AM

    thanks i am in the market for a bike with not alot of money to spend

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