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Stress Echocardiogram - Really doc, my ticker is OK

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Part 1: Serious Chest Congestion

Since March of this year I have had an elephant sitting on my chest. I have been coughing and wheezing a lot. I tired quickly and had no zip. My doctor prescribed antibiotics, steroid inhalers, Musinex and Albuterol. The Albuterol was to be taken 5 times a day via a nebulizer.

All these medications were intended to open up my lungs and get rid of great gobs of mucus. Yeah, I know, not a pretty picture. The story gets better.

Part 2: Tests, Tests and More Tests

By mid-May my condition had only improved slightly. I now had a hippo sitting on my chest. I was also experiencing a lot of pain in my chest. The doctor took an x-ray of my chest to test for pneumonia. I did not have pneumonia.

He then put me through a lung capacity test. This is where not having a baseline is deceiving. My lungs capacity was 115% of normal. Under normal circumstances, my lung capacity test at 140% normal. I have a huge boiler room. The only parameter that was low was the rate I could fill and discharge my lungs, which was only 79% of normal. It just hurt to breathe!

My doctor then brought in a portable Electrocardiogram (EKG) machine. His assistant stuck a bunch of electrodes on me.

The results of my EKG were picture perfect.

I have known my doctor for 18 years. We engage in friendly banter. He says, "Bruce, I am going to order a Stress Echo test." I reply, "Doc, I don't know what the heck that is. But I am pretty sure, that if there is only one thing that I got that is good, its my ticker." He smiles, "The three most likely causes of your symptoms are bronchitis, pneumonia or congestive heart failure. I just want to rule out anything that is going to kill you!" It is really hard to argue at this point. I say, "Ok, write me script for two weeks of the big guns antibiotic and I will go get the test." My lung congestion had a bacteria component and I had a sinus infection.

Part 3: Smart Little Cookie

My wife is a smart little cookie. I told her my throat felt constricted and I had trouble swallowing. My sinus were swollen and hurt badly. She said, "You have allergies." That is the reason you cannot kick your bronchitis." I shrugged, "Ok, what can I do about it?" She grabbed a box out of the cupboard and handed it to me. She goes, "Take this Allegra-D. I would die without it." I start taking the Allegra. All of a sudden all the different meds start working. My chest still hurts but the congestion starts to clear up.

Part 4: Stress Echo Test

On May 30th I am scheduled for the Stress Echo Test at South Denver Cardiology. The place looks like the Taj Mahal.

This is facility has 68,000 square feet. There are factories that are smaller! Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women. I am sure that most major metro areas have several big heart centers.

I get to the Heart Center early and check-in. I have my running stuff with me. This test requires the victim - er - patient to walk on a treadmill. I couldn't drink any coffee before the test. So I am barely awake. Here is a link that explains the Echo Stress Test.


I noted that the Echo Stress Test is supposed to be "painless and harmless". Yeah, right!

They call me back and show me a locker room where I can change. I change into my running clothes and put on my trusty Nike Zoom Vomeros. A really cute girl technician leads me back to the torture chamber - er - examination room. There is a pretty young woman sitting at the ultra-sound machine. A smiling blond runway model walks over and introduces herself. She is the cardiologist. The cute girl asks me to take off my shirt. She shaves part of my chest and glues a zillion electrode patches on me. She then attaches 700 pounds of wires to the patches. She puts a blood pressure cuff on my right arm and an oxygen saturation sensor on my left finger.

I am convinced this is high school career day and the seasoned staff is going to walk in any second.

This picture shows a fraction of the electrodes. I had electrodes all over me.

The cute girl says, PB 120 over 80; oxygen saturation 99%." I ask, "Is that good." In a surprised tone she say, "Oh yes, that is very good." The pretty woman at the ultra-sound types this information into her terminal. They tell me to lie down on a small bed by the ultra-sound machine on my side. The pretty woman plugs my wiring harness into the ultra-sound machine, she then grabs the freezing ultra-sound sensor and tries to push the sensor through my chest to my backbone. She says, "Resting heart rate is 54 BPM." I ask, "Is that good." I am pretty sure she thought her machine was broken. She simply says, "Yeah. Please breath normally." When someone stabs you with a metal probe that is one degree above absolute zero it is hard to breath normally!

But I got to see my heart working.

This is not my heart. But it should give you the idea of what the ultra-sound shows.

After getting a lot of images of my ticker, I am unplugged from the ultra-sound terminal and led to the medical treadmill.

They plug my wires and blood pressure cuff into the terminal next to the treadmill. The fun is about to begin. The runway model comes over. She points to a pain chart on the wall in front of me, "The chart is there so you can tell us how you feel. Level 1 is normal. Level 10 is excruciating agony." I ask, "How long is this going to take?" She looks at my size and graying hair and say, "Not long. Maybe 8 to 10 minutes. Just until you hit your exercise heart rate." I ask, "How fast is that?" She answers, "166 beats per minute."

I almost blurt out, "Listen doc, my heart has never gone that fast EVER! My heart just won't go that fast!"

The cute girl starts the treadmill. I can see my heart rate and EKG readout. She sets treadmill at a brisk walk. After 5 minutes, my heart rate hits 80 beats per minute. She asks me how I feel. I tell her I feel fine. She says, "I need to turn up the speed. Is that Ok?" I answer, "Sure". She turns up the speed to a slow jog. She has the incline set at maximum. My heart rate slowly goes to 100 beats per minute. I have already been on the machine 10 minutes. The runway model asks, "Where is your level of pain." I say, "About a 2." She responds with a concerned voice, "Can you keep going?" I nod and say, "Yes". The cute girl turns up the speed. At this point I am running. My heart rate hits 120 and then 130. I have been on the treadmill for 15 minutes. The runway model asks, "Can you keep going?" I say, Yup." She adds, We need you heart rate at least at 140." The cute girl cranks the treadmill up again. I am pretty sure it is maxed.

I have monitored my heart rate during exercise. 131 bpm is all the faster it goes. At 25 minutes my heart rate hits 138. The runway model calls it good. Now I have to hurry over to the ultra-sound. I lay down on my side. Some of the electrodes on my side have slipped off. I am drenched in sweat. My heart is running like a well-oiled machine, but it has already slipped down to under 130 beats per minute. I am feeling dizzy. I needed to cool down. My chest really hurts!

So much for "painless and harmless".

Part 5: Conclusion

I had a very bad case of bacterial and viral bronchitis aggravated by allergies. My heart is in superb shape. The chest pain was caused by pleurisy. Pleurisy is an inflammation of the membrane that surrounds the lungs. This inflammation was caused by the chronic bronchitis. I treated the pleurisy with Aleve. My bronchitis is practically gone.

Part 6: I Can Ride! I Can Run.

I have been working my way back to fitness slowly. I managed to run a 5K in 31:07. That is way off my normal pace but I have not been running in months.

Yesterday, I took Ultra Stumpy up Red Cone Peak. I have been riding a lot of technical trails and wanted to relax.

This bike is amazing. Is shifts quickly and silently even under heavy load.

The way up to Red Cone is rough.

The climb up Red Cone starts at 9,000 feet and tops out at 12,801 feet.

This is the summit of Red Cone. I averaged 10.5 mph on the ascent and 27.3 mph on the descent. Top speed was 44.7 mph. I could have gone faster but the road was too rough. The descent was a rush.

I am back!

Thanks for reading my blog.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SQUIRRELLYONE 7/12/2012 9:10AM

    I wish my heart beat that slowly... Normal exercise brings me up above my "ideal heart rate"... of course, that's mostly when I try to run (not something I'm good at... I kindof prance)

You, sir, are a machine!

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ITSHOWYOULIVE 6/29/2012 12:15AM

    It's nice to know what exactly was going on and that it is clearing up and your ride looks awesome, as always. Glad you are feeling better.

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BAILEYS7OF9 6/20/2012 12:49PM

    good to know! I have had pleurisy and it is major painful! Same as a bruised lung, which I did coughing my brains out!

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MPLANE37 6/20/2012 9:13AM

    Congrats, man. No heart problem is excellent news.

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HAKAPES 6/18/2012 4:35PM

    It was really interesting to read the details of the test.
You didn't tell, this max heart rate for you is normal, low or high?

When I run, my max heart rate is 185, and usually I do the cardio training between 150-165.

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LINDAKAY228 6/18/2012 2:46PM

    Glad your tests came out okay, you're going to live, and you're feeling better and back to what you love!!

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CBAILEYC 6/18/2012 1:33PM

    I'd noticed you'd been pretty quiet of late.. now I know why! I'm so glad to hear your ticker is in tip-top shape! What an awesome way to 'celebrate' getting back in the groove!
emoticon emoticon

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JSTETSER 6/18/2012 12:09PM

    Your wife is a keeper! Thank God for a wise woman.

You really like to climb to the heights! I just climbed Mt. Washington here in NH which is under 7,000.

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LISAINMS 6/18/2012 11:51AM

    Your wife is a smart woman. Sometimes it is really that simple. OTC allergy meds to the rescue. Hope you are feeling top notch and giving Ultra Stumpy a real run for it.

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NATPLUMMER 6/18/2012 10:45AM

I'm glad you are feeling better and are back to your running and biking!!

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MYLADY4 6/18/2012 9:35AM

    That is a phenomenal heart rate for a stress test. When I had one earlier this year my HR got up to it's normal 180 when I really workout and it looked great too.

Glad all is good with the ticker now bike away.

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    Glad that everything turned out ok with your heart.

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KAREN42BOYS 6/17/2012 11:40PM

    You are a great story teller! Love hearing about your heart working superbly!

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KA_JUN 6/17/2012 11:27PM

    dude, that summit of red cone looks beautiful, i can imagine the descent was well earned! 166 bpm?!? For me, that's slightly below race pace, and I never hit numbers like that indoors, ever. I can only imagine how hard they had you working on that treadmill, especially with your ability to inhale constricted. Nice way to spend and afternoon. glad to see you're in the saddle again!

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HKARLSSON 6/17/2012 10:50PM

    Woo hoo! Yay you! And yay for your wife giving you the Allegra-D! I've had a similar situation happen to me (chronic bronchitis + allergies = not a fun time). Glad to read that your ticker is in superb shape and the rest of you is on the mend. I swear, these doctors are getting younger and younger every year. I don't care what anybody says.

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GRATEFULBOB 6/17/2012 10:03PM

    It sounds like what I am going through all the heart tests and they say three arteries are less then 50% so they are not going to do anything. Still get tired real easy so needless to say going to go to different doctor . Glad to see you are back doing what you love to do emoticon

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HEALTHIERKEN 6/17/2012 9:26PM

    Imagine being too fit for the stress test to go as expected! You're a star : )
Congrats on your fitness level, and best wishes for getting completely clear of the infections. And, happy happy happy biking!

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KICK-SS 6/17/2012 8:00PM

    I'm glad that your heart and everything is okay, but I have to say that your descriptions of your "adventure" had me laughing so hard, I thought maybe I was going to need medical attention. What a way you had with the words and your description. It just gave me a vivid picture in my mind of your adventure or ordeal, whichever you chose to call it.

The things these doctors put us through sometimes!! I enjoyed the blog!

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NWFL59 6/17/2012 7:14PM

    What an ordeal! Glad you're ticker was confirmed to be hunky dory okay fine and your wife got you back on your anti allergy meds to help your other meds do their job and knock out that nasty bug you've been fighting. Your spirits must have soared as your cycled about the Red Cone trail. emoticon emoticon
Glad you're feeling so much better and lets hope this is the last of it.
I've undergone (a few years ago) that procedure (Echo Stress Test) but didn't last even 5 minutes before I exceeded the target range and the test had to be stopped way too early. The cardiologist was almost as ashen in the face as I was red! I told them I won't be doing that test again so don't ask me! emoticon

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TOOTHFUL99 6/17/2012 6:12PM

    Now you know. Better to be safe than sorry. I have a friend who bikes and does triathalons. He went through a time when he had no energy and trouble breathing. After extensive testing, they found one of his arteries was 90% blocked! He's all fixed now and back to his old self!

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LMB-ESQ 6/17/2012 5:55PM

    Those poor girls thought you were gonna drop dead on their treadmill! You showed them!

Glad your ticker is okay and you're feeling better. Welcome back to the trails!

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CAROLYN1ALASKA 6/17/2012 5:52PM

    Sounds like you have had a rough Spring. Glad to hear you're doing better and that it wasn't serious.

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STRIVER57 6/17/2012 4:55PM

    nice to have an officially approved healthy heart. and nicer still to finally feel better. looks like a really scary bike ride to me!

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LKEITHO 6/17/2012 4:47PM

    Glad to hear you are back at it!

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GAELA-I-CAN 6/17/2012 4:22PM

    How scared you must have been. I'm so glad they did the tests needed to get some answers. What a relief to know that your heart is ok.. I'm sooo happy for you !!!!!

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Ultra Stumpy and Me at Buffalo Creek - How Bad Can it Be?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Part 1: No Trail Building

I got to the Miller Gulch trailhead just in time to see a group of mountain bikers take off like shot out of cannons. Most were wearing camelbacks, but that was it. These folks had camped at the trailhead and took off early.

I quickly changed my shoes, strapped on my helmet, and slug a backpack with my lunch and work clothes on my back. I grabbed Ultra Stumpy and flew off after the group. They were supposed to be working on Raspberry Ridge or Blackjack. I cut up Homestead and climbed up Raspberry Ridge.

I never found the missing trail builders. I am pretty sure they decided to blow-off trail building and ride! The day was perfect!

Part 2: Me and Ultra Stumpy at Buffalo Creek

Me and Ultra Stumpy were raring to go. Me and Little Stumpy had spent many a joyous hour in Buffalo Creek. But we had not been on the upper trails off Miller Gulch. This was new to me.

Here is a link to the Buffalo Creek Trail map.

The International Mountain Bike Association lists Buffalo Creek, Colorado, as "Epic"! There are good reasons for this Epic classification. Here are some photos showing part of my ride. I was a bit too busy trying not to get seriously killed to take photos. I got these pictures from various sites. None of people are me and none of the Bikes are Ultra Stumpy.

This is a photo of the starting point. Miller Gulch Tail is a nice easy double track. In the morning I flew down this trail. Eight hours and 61.2 miles later, I was biking back up this trail to get to my car - every push of a pedal was agony!

I turned right on Homestead Trail.

Homestead Trail is a nice single track. This leads to Raspberry Ridge trail.

Homestead has some pretty parts. The entire Buffalo Creek area is an exposed granitic pluton.

Raspberry Ridge climbs to 9,750 feet. This trail is steep and rocky.

Here is Raspberry Ridge on the ascent. This is harder than it looks.

Part 3: How Bad Can It Be?

What goes up must come down. Blackjack is in the "Most Difficult" category.

How bad can it be?

There is a trail here. I had to stop a few times to decide where the trail was.

This is easy. Straight off the rock. This is what Ultra Stumpy was made for.

Take a look at this video. This is a guy on a Stumpjumper full suspension bike coming down Blackjack. Does this look hard to you ?


This is a really good time not to screw-up. The video is high-def and loads slowly. To get the full effect, you need to watch the video after it fully loads. This is a very steep trail and things happen in a hurry. At the end of the video the rider goes through a little creek. There is a climb after the little creek that puts you on the top of Sandy Wash Trail. Sandy Wash covered with decomposed granite is slippery and steep.

Part 4: Sandy Wash Trail

Maybe you can see the loose trail surface here.

Here is another great video of Sandy Wash Trail. This is considered an "Intermediate" level trail. Yes, it is intermediate trail for gonzo nut-job mountain bilkers.


This trail is smooth, steep and twisty. This is the domain of my hardtail - Little Stumpy. Ultra Stumpy can handle this trail, but I had to lock-out the rear suspension, drop the seat and stand on he pedals almost whole time to get the big 29er carving a low line on the turns. What happens if you get too high on a sharp turn? You hit deep loose gravel and wash-out and crash.

I got too high on just one curve. I tried to clip-out of my pedals before Stumpy and I hit the ground. But at that instant there was too much down force on the pedals. My feet were glued in! Stumpy flew off the trail. I finally came out of the pedals in mid-air. Stumpy and I parted ways and I landed chest first in the trail.

My landing hurt quite a bit. I also got a world-class raspberry out of the deal.

I took this photo today (Sunday). This will heal quickly . Yesterday when this happened my leg was a bloody and dirty mess.

Part 5: Easy Miles

When I got to the bottom of Sandy Wash I had done 16 miles. There is a nice dirt fire road that runs through Buffalo Creek. I cranked-up Stumps and flew along the road to Tramway Trail.

543 is closed to traffic. It has a few steeper parts and a few ruts but is classified as an easy beginner trail.

Tramway is a nice connecting trail to the 3rd segment of the Colorado Trail.

The Colorado Trail is a nice easy ride.

I hit the Buffalo Burn Trail just for fun. I did 25.4 miles round-trip on the Colorado Trail.

On the way back I hit Redskin Creek Trail (1.5 miles).

I hit lower Gashouse Gulch Trail. Gashouse starts off as an easy single track.

Gashouse his a really pretty trail and runs only about 2.5 miles.

Part 6: Just Not Thinking Straight.

I then lost my mind. I decided to ascend Sandy Wash Trail. I should have climbed Baldy Trail instead. As I made my ascent on Sandy Wash, my legs just gave up! I ended up walking my bike about 2 out of the 3 miles. I had put in 53.9 miles as I started to climb Sandy Wash. I had run out of water and food about 2 hours before. I was worn-out, hungry and thirsty. Walking actually felt good! At least Ultra Stumpy is easy to push.

I actually took off my 20 pound backpack and hung it on Stumpy's seat. I still had my trail building clothes with me! I had to keep pulling Stumpy off the trail due to all the riders bombing down Sandy Wash.

Part 7: Somebody Worse Off Than Me

I rounded a turn during one of my rare pedaling moments and found a guy sitting off the trail. His Trek Rumblefish was in a heap above him. I asked him is his bike was OK. I know it sounds stupid. But if the bike is OK, you get home. I could see what happened immediately. He got off he center of the trail in steep downhill section. I could see a big gouge in the decomposed granite where his front wheel had hit an launched him into space.

I dismounted to see if he was alright. He had a chemical cold compress on his knee. I was really impressed by his first-aid kit. Unfortunately, his right knee was laid open to the bone! His leg was bloody mess. There didn't appear to be any ligament damage. I helped him put on a compression bandage and saw him on his way.

As I slowly pedaled back up Miller Gulch, my muscles almost refused to work. It seemed an impossibility that I had been able to fly along trails effortlessly for hours and hours.

The car looked like a shining oasis when I finally made it back. The SparkPeople calorie estimator indicated I had use 8,006 calories in 61 miles of biking. I think that is low.

Part 8: Really Scary

I found a cute video about mountain biking called " Mel's 1st time Mountain Biking". This video scared the hell out of me. I would guess this video was filmed in the South Eastern United States. I noticed that everything was green and the forest had not burned.


What scared me was the front wheel wobble! Evidently, Mel had a helmet camera. She couldn't track the front wheel in straight line! Mel is a gutsy lady. I was expecting her to hit a tree or go off a bridge.

This is the scariest mountain bike video I have seen!

Thanks for reading my blog.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ITSHOWYOULIVE 5/23/2012 7:02PM

    "Here is Raspberry Ridge on the ascent. This is harder than it looks. " I think it looks pretty hard to start with!

Impressive ride and glad you stopped to help the thrown rider. He may have been in a bit of shock, I'm sure you stopping and getting him fixed up and on his way helped TONS. I've never been brave enough to put bike to trail....just starting to consider running them...do love hiking them :). Have to say though every single biker I've encountered on a mixed trail has been considerate and polite to those on foot.

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JENN03275 4/26/2012 9:22PM

    Sounds like an awesome ride. I want to start trail ride this summer!

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SUZWARNR 4/26/2012 8:21PM

    Wow. I can't even run on a trail, nevermind bike on one. I'm very impressed. I don't know how you don't hurt yourself more than you do. I am planning on finding a trail this weekend to explore. Hiking only, but at least it gets me out doing something in this new state of mine.

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BEAGLEMAMA2 4/26/2012 7:33AM

    Nice bike ride! I wish I knew how to ride. I tried to learn but my balance is so off. My hubby goes a lot with friends from work.

Thank you for sharing...I always love to see scenery from around our beautiful country!

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JANNEPERRY 4/25/2012 9:55AM

    OK--I'm totally jealous of your scenery! But. . . I'm not sure I'm ready for a "danger is my middle name" type of experience you trail riders can have out there in the wilderness! emoticon

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KA_JUN 4/23/2012 10:54PM

    Excellent ride report, put a smile on my face to read it. Serious technical trail you've got out there...looks fun! Looks like "Mel" caught that log and slid her front tire across it. Ouch.

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ELYMWX 4/23/2012 4:43PM

    Something tells me I know what the next toy will be: a GoPro HD Hero2!

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BAILEYS7OF9 4/23/2012 3:20PM

    Ouch! Absolutely gorgeous area!

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KKINNEA 4/23/2012 2:45PM

    Amazing riding there - I get nervous rolling down a hill that's clear. Nice work.

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LINDAKAY228 4/23/2012 12:00PM

    Wow amazing ride through beautiful country! I had to laugh at the comment "it's not as easy as it looks" as it looked very difficult to me! Course I'm a hiker not a rider but tend to hike a lot of terrain like some of you pics. And it's never as easy as it looks in the pics. Even though I don't ride, we both have the same love of the trails for whatever reason. I also know the feeling after some long hikes up and down mountians of the car looking like an oasis and the muscles not wanting to work anymore. But still it leaves you with a great feeling!

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CBAILEYC 4/23/2012 10:51AM

    I wonder.. is that they they call it Raspberry Ridge?
emoticon emoticon
What an amazing outing. As always, gratitude for sharing!

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NATPLUMMER 4/23/2012 10:45AM

    WOW!! Ouch!! How does your leg feel today?

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ODAYSKI11 4/23/2012 8:56AM

    Wow! I love mountain biking but cannot do it at your level, I am impressed!

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    Wow...now that's a bike ride!!!!

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TWEETYKC00 4/23/2012 5:29AM

    You and Stumpy tore that place up! And that looks like a good tear out of you, too.! lol Bet you had a blast with it. Maybe next time you'll be able to stay up.

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KAYZAKCX 4/23/2012 2:02AM

    Sounds like a blast. It seems the more memorable moments come from "not thinking straigh". I bet Ultra Stumpy slept well...after rubbing it to Little Stumpy.

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    Ouch - andd this was for fun? I really admire your gumption. Hope the other fella was OK, too.

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Joining a Mountain Bike Club and Building Trails

Friday, April 20, 2012

Part 1: Joining the International Mountain Bike Association

As my interest in Mountain Biking has grown, I decided it was time to join a club full of people as crazy as me. First I joined the International Mountain Bike Association, then I joined the local chapter of the IMBA, called the Colorado Mountain Bike Association or COMBA for short.

The total for joining both clubs was $50. As a bonus I get a pair of biking socks and a subscription to Dirt Rag magazine. I also plan to start mountain bike racing and the COMBA are the people that put on most of the events in the area.

Part 2: I am a Joiner

My wife thinks my tendency to join clubs and associations is a serious personality flaw. I currently belong to the following:

Colorado Football Officials Association
Denver Football Officials Association
International Plastic Modelers' Society (Scale Models)
Academy of Model Aeronautics (RC Planes)
Founding Member of the GTO Association of America (Muscle Cars)
International Mountain Bike Association
Colorado Mountain Bike Association

I am not counting professional organizations that I belong. Does SparkPeople count? I don't belong to any running clubs because there are really none in my area. Maybe I could start one.

Part 3: Volunteering to Build Trails

Like most people that use trails, I never gave it much thought how the trails got there and are maintained. I guess I assumed that some governmental agency built and maintained trails on public lands. I know that Colorado Lottery money goes to maintain Jefferson County and Boulder County open space parks.

However, the magnificent Colorado Trail and the amazing web of trails in Buffalo Creek are maintained by volunteers. The Buffalo Creek mountain bike paradise is just a few miles from my house. On Saturday I will help finish the Blackjack and Raspberry Gulch trails. Besides feeling a duty to contribute, these trails will not be marked on any map for a while. I want to know where these trails are!

Check it out!

Pretty cools stuff. Ultra Stumpy is just itching to give this trail a go! I am going to bring my map and mark the unmarked trails.

So long for now!

Ultra Stumpy is made for the rough stuff. We are both psyched!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAYZAKCX 4/21/2012 11:18AM

    All the trails in my area are maintained by volunteers. I am amazed at what a nice job they do. The trail I rode earlier this week is maintained by my LBS in their spare time. The rest are maintained by local mountain bike groups. Again, they all do an amazing job.

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DAVEWDB 4/21/2012 8:36AM

    That's great. Most people take hiking and biking trails for granted but they're only there because of the volunteers. I think I'll take my mountain bike out for a ride today.

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LMB-ESQ 4/20/2012 1:56PM

    I am not a joiner. In fact, I am as big a loner as they come. (Is that a personality flaw too, in the other direction?) But good luck keeping up with all of that, and I look forward to reading about your mountain biking adventures! emoticon

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LINDAKAY228 4/20/2012 12:15PM

    I have thought several times of volunteering to help with trail maintance around here when I've seen something in the paper about a work day. SOmething has always come up thought. Don't see anything very often, maybe a couple of times a year. I'm still thinking about it and am going to do it one of these days. I really appreciate the trails and feel I should help to make sure they are there for me to use. And you'll find some new trails out of the deal!

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CAROLYN1ALASKA 4/20/2012 11:56AM

    Sounds good to me.
We have a club here too that works on trails. Luckily, mountain bikers are able to use the 550 miles of trails "provided" by our Nordic ski club. The only drawback is that there aren't many miles of single track trails.
Have lots of fun riding, building, and racing on your local trails! emoticon

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KA_JUN 4/20/2012 11:18AM

    Awesome, Dirt Rag is an excellent mag. Sounds like a win-win situation, you get to help trail build, ride new trail, AND ride with others. Look forward to reading your race/ride reports!

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NATPLUMMER 4/20/2012 10:27AM

    Great idea. It will help you utilize UltraStumpy to his full extent. :-)

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Cannot Sell Little Stumpy

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Part 1: Little Stumpy

The guy at work that wants buy my Stumpjumper Comp hardtail didn't blink twice when I quoted a price of $1,200. He likes Little Stumpy. He test rode Little Stumpy and commented that that Little Stumpy seemed as fast and smooth as his road bike. This guy spent a fair amount of money for his road bike. He knew that Little Stumpy was rare jewel.

My friend Jason sold his cross-country hardtail when he bought his Yeti dual suspension bike, He didn't need the money and now he is regretting selling his hardtail. He convinced me to hold onto Little Stumpy.

There is something honest about a hardtail mountain bike. Little Stumpy demands that I become one with him. Ultra Stumpy says, "Relax, I will take care of you. (Note Ultra Stumpy is a dual-suspension Carbon-Fiber bike with a programmed "brain" suspension technology" that thinks for itself. )

This is fabulous bike. Fast and responsive and worth every penny.

Part 2: What About Selling Big Red?

I have an older (2006) Giant Boulder Special Edition (SE). I call this bike "Big Red". Big Red is a nice recreational bike with a very comfortable seat and riding position.

This exact bike is still sold by Giant as the Revel 2 for $400. Big Red's only weakness is an 80mm travel Suntour front fork. Big Red shifts nicely and is reasonably light with an aluminum alloy frame. The low quality front fork really limits Big Red to smooth dirt roads. The thing is that Big Red has flat pedals and nicely padded seat. Big Red is the only bike I own that I can ride without wearing padded biking shorts nor cleated biking shoes. So I am not selling Big Red either. In fact, I just ordered a RockShox TK 30 Coil Fork on sale for $120 delivered.

This fork has an MSRP of $164 and has lockout, adjustable preload and rebound, and 100mm of travel. We just had to replace the Suntour front fork on my Daughter's Boulder SE. The fork failed and one side came apart. She rides like a maniac. My wife got her a RockShox and had it installed before the two of them left to ride through Yellowstone. This fork really extends the usefulness of Big Red. I use Big Red when I want to bike and run during the same session. I also use Big Red for cruising around my neighborhood. Big Red can hit 40 mph and is not slow. I got to keep Big Red.

Thanks for reading my blog.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ELYMWX 4/19/2012 1:27AM

    So when do the bikes take over the garage and push the cars out?

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KAREN42BOYS 4/17/2012 10:46PM

    Hey, have you heard about this recall?


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NATPLUMMER 4/17/2012 12:09PM

    Yay for keeping the bikes!!

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TYKXBOY 4/17/2012 11:42AM

    You know a bike is special when you give it a special quirky name.

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KKINNEA 4/17/2012 11:06AM

    You need a special "bike house"!

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BAILEYS7OF9 4/17/2012 10:49AM

    I agree with TOOTHFUL99... you'll need a room just for the bikes!

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NWFL59 4/17/2012 10:22AM

    Good to decision not to sell Little Stuppy and Big Red. Glad you were able to find a deal on the replacement front fork upgrade for Big Red. I have (and use) a street bike made by Giant , model Sedona (women's as I've always hated the bar in the men's version). It's works for my level of cycling around the neighborhood and about certain low traffic areas around town. emoticon

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KAREN42BOYS 4/17/2012 10:07AM

    Sounds like three great bikes

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TOOTHFUL99 4/17/2012 9:32AM

    I have a friend here in Chattanooga who built an extra room on his house...just for his bikes! Maybe you shoud start thinking of a bike room!! lol

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Pushing Ultra Stumpy

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Part 1: Pushing Ultra Stumpy - Rocky and Steep

On Thursday and Friday, Jason, my co-worker and me hit South Table Mountain in Golden, Colorado during our lunch break. South Table Mountain is an extinct basaltic volcano and is a favorite among mountain bikers. Here is a shot of South Table Mountain:

You may note how steep the the sides of the mountain are. It is a hard 20 minute climb to get to the top.

The trail is rocky. This is no place to screw-up!

Here is a sample of the major trails. There are many more trails that are not marked.

Unfortunately, there are some big cliffs on this mountain. Again, this is a good place not to screw-up.

This is the terrain that Ultra Stumpy was made for. My friend jason has a very old Yeti. Yeti bikes are made right at the base of North and South Table Mountains. Yeti are "boutique" bikes. They don't make many bikes because the guys that work at the Yeti factory spend a lot of time "trail testing" new products.

Here is a factory photo of Jason's 2005 Yeti. Unfortunately, Jason blew the front forks and the cost is over $600 for a new fork. His cogs are shot also, which is another $300. High-end bikes that can handle South Table Mountain are expensive to buy and maintain.

Part 2: Ultra Stumpy is Fast

As Jason and I climbed up South Table Mountain, Ultra Stumpy just floated up the gnarly, dangerous, rocky and steep ascent. Under full load, Ultra Stumpy shifted to lower or higher gears flawlessly. Jason's old Yeti was grinding and thumping during shifts. Jason is younger and in better shape than me. But Ultra Stumpy ran away from the Yeti.

A Factory shot of Ultra Stumpy. I swear this bike has a motor!

Part 3: Jason Wants a New Bike

Jason wants a new Yeti SB-66. This is a cool bike!

At $4,700 the Carbon Frame Yeti SB66 Enduro is a solid performer. Ultra Stumpy would need to work hard to keep up with this bad boy. Both Ultra Stumpy (Specialized Stumpjumper Expert Carbon 29 FSR) and the Yeti SB66 Carbon Enduro 29 are great machines.

Part 3: Why the Big Bucks for a Bike?

Here is why - Jason and I covered 10.13 miles of rocky and nasty terrain in less than an hour. Here is what my Garmin 305 Recorded:

Distance: 10.13 Miles
Time: 50:14 Minutes (mm:ss)
Average Speed: 12.1 Mph
Max Speed: 23.8 Mph
Ascent: 998 feet

Sounds Slow? Here is a photo of the terrain:

This is a photo of the actual South Table Mountain descent. I got this picture from a Mountain Bike site. The guy in the photo is neither Jason nor me. Just imagine taking this on at 24 mph! It is a huge head rush!

Part 5: Bike Rack for Ultra Stumpy

The swoopy frame on a dual-suspension bike makes it is tough to hang the bike from a conventional rack. Currently, I have to take off Ultra Stumpy's wheels and jam the frame into my car. I have to reassemble Ultra Stumpy for riding. Then disassemble for transport. This is not fun.

I went to a local store called "Rack Attack". Rack Attack sells very nice bike racks. After looking at every bike rack in the store, I settled on a Thule 916XTR T2.

This was the only rack that could handle Ultra Stumpy's frame and 29" tires.

The rack locks to the hitch receiver and has individual cable locks for each bike.

Part 6: Burning Calories

I rode Thursday and Friday. According to the SparkPeople fitness tracker, I burned 2,252 calories. I am down 3 pounds since getting my new bike.

I think that this is good.

Part 7: Sell Little Stumpy???

A guy at work is interested in buying my 2008 Stumpjumper Comp hardtail XC racing bike. He is the same size as me so Stumpy fits him. He has a road bike but wants a hardtail mountain bike. He likes that Stumpy is a custom 3x10 (30-Speed). Most Stumpjumpers are either 20 or 29 speeds. Stumpy's extra gear is for more speed. I made the mistake of telling my wife that someone wants to buy Little Stumpy. But on a smooth single track Little Stumpy is magnificent. Little Stumpy is going to be hard to give up.

I still like this bike a lot. Little Stumpy is a sweet bike and oozes goodness.

Thanks for reading my blog.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TEDDYBABE 4/15/2012 10:45PM

    I'm starting to see a pattern here. Ultra Stumpy's jockey is not happy unless he is TOTALLY challenged. lol Great blog!

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LISAINMS 4/15/2012 12:05PM

    24mph on that? Yikes, no thanks! I take a downhill road at 36, but that's on pavement with my roadie. I'm such a chicken, lol. Glad to see you are getting your money's worth with Ultra Stumpy.

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DRAGONCHILDE 4/14/2012 8:25PM

    I miss biking. I need to get back into it!

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KAYZAKCX 4/14/2012 7:57PM

    Nice pics. Sounds like Ultra Stumpy has found a happy home.

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GUNNSGIRL91303 4/14/2012 7:28PM

    what a fun blog to read, I feel like I went with you! I would keep ultra stumpy for future adventures and fun!
I would be terrified to do any of that by the way! emoticon

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SWEDE_SU 4/14/2012 5:31PM

    lovely vicarious adventure - thank you!

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TRIGRAMPS 4/14/2012 5:24PM

    "Just imagine taking this on at 24 mph! It is a huge head rush!" Cannot imagine! Would want a full body suit at half that speed, but I want that sweet hardtail!

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KA_JUN 4/14/2012 4:31PM

    Nice. Extinct basaltic volcano, looks like just what the Dr. ordered for your new ride. Looks serious, you bottom out your fork on that ride? Fun, fun, stuff!

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NWFL59 4/14/2012 12:12PM

    Better you than me, glad you and your co-worker had a terrific and exhilarating ride! emoticon

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NATPLUMMER 4/14/2012 12:00PM

    emoticonGreat ride!! Awesome burn!!

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STRIVER57 4/14/2012 11:18AM

    will ultra stumpy not also be magnificent on a smooth single track? doesn't little stumpy deserve to have someone love him full time?

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HKARLSSON 4/14/2012 10:57AM

    What, you can bike on that?! Great googly moogly... Looks like some beautiful country, and a LOOOOONG way down!

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CBAILEYC 4/14/2012 10:54AM

    I truly appreciate that you let me live vicariously through your adventures when you share such great stories and pictures here. Thank you for that.

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TWEETYKC00 4/14/2012 9:42AM

    Wow, that sounds like one heck of a ride!

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