Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Girls' Trip Coming Up!!!

A random and unplanned road trip is in my future. The goal is to leave Friday and be gone for we don't know how long. We're all completely broke and just want to hit the road for as long as possible. The posse includes: Julie, Mandi, Jess, and myself. We've never all traveled together so it should be interesting. All we know is that we want to head southwestish to warmer and drier climates so camping and biking is possible. If you have any suggestions, or a couch for us to crash on, let me know!!! Pictures of the debauchery will follow as they become available...

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Finger Painting with Oreos

It's been too long since the last post, so I decided to put an end to the hiatus. Not much happening but work, work, work around these parts except for a rather entertaining evening about a week ago... It involved watercolor and acrylic paints for the most part. Then, out came the Oreos. Anyone who knows me, knows my close relationship with the tasty little sandwich cookies. It started with the idea of a portrait of my buddy Austin and ended up with me eating Oreos and then using the chewed up paste as a sort of finger paint. I must say, it actually was a pretty successful medium and the impromptu piece looks a bit like the subject. Mandi agreed, although she's not a very objective judge of my art; she loves it all.

One's (maybe obviously, maybe not) Austin and the other involves dental floss, modge-podge, and watercolor. Fun night!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Oh Pagosa

For the first time in I don't know how long, I was a regular old tourist! I traveled on a weekend and did all of the touristy things there were to do in Pagosa Springs. It was a girl's family weekend and my aunts and cousins from both Arizona and Omaha, as well as my mom and myself all met up for a little family fun. And fun we had, let me tell you! We stayed in two separate condos: one for the moms and one for the cousins. Most of our time was spent talking and playing games like Catch Phrase (my favorite!!), Guesstures, and Apples to Apples. Just a bunch of silly board type games that were, I must say, quite a riot with 6 female family members. It was pretty great to see everyone; to be honest, I was happily surprised.

Then on Monday I had the day to slowly make my way back to Grand Lake. I decided to try to find a good place for a quick ride and then head homeward. The day before I found a bike shop that I thought I could stop by for some ride ideas. I pulled up, got out and asked the guy rolling bikes out where a good mountain bike ride would be. He simply said, "I don't know, I don't ride mountain bikes." Can you believe that?!?!? Neither could I. After a bit more prompting, he told me that there is a dirt parking lot a few miles down the road that had some kind of a trail leading out of it. Not exactly the help I was hoping for. Oh well. I took matters into my own hands and decided to drive around town looking for perhaps another info source. Then, I remembered reading something about a mountain biking area behind the post office. Found it! It was called Spa Mountain and it was pretty cool to have a trail system right in the middle of town! I briefly looked at the map at the trailhead and figured it was a small enough area that I couldn't really get lost. I also saw that one section to the east of the mountain was rated red (most difficult) and not recommended for mountain biking. I hit the trail and off I went. Climb, climb, climb and then I found myself in a bit of a clearing with a great view. I wasn't too impressed with the amount of marking of the different trails. Once in a while there would be either a green, blue, or red number nailed to a tree but a few times I got a bit confused and ended up not on a trail at all. Finally, I found a blue arrow pointing down the back of the mountain, which I decided to follow. After a fun tight switchbacky descent, I ended up dead ending into a river!

So, after admiring the river and sheer cliffs to the west where I had just come from, I backtracked a bit and found what kind of looked like a game trail, or rarely used steeeeeeep trail that I eventually understood to be that red trail that wasn't suggested for mountain bikers. Now I see why. I climbed and climbed and climbed (on foot pushing my bike since the pitch was so steep) and laughed out loud at how crazy this idea was. Hoping that it would eventually lead back to the less intense trail system, I kept going. Finally, I ventured upon this

Holy SH*T!!!

Ssscccaaarrrryyyy!!!!!! I thankfully walked up on it and was pretty grateful that I wasn't bombing down the trail and then thinking mid-air that, "Oh, isn't this special?!" Maybe if I was some kind of downhill daredevil this would be fun, but I still don't think that there is enough of a landing area. You just shoot right into the straight down narrow steep singletrack. You'd have to land it slowly and beautifully to not just tumble down the crazy steep edge of the mountain! I don't get it. But maybe that's why it isn't widely used. I did actually see a whole bunch of tire tracks around it though. IMBA, this area needs your love!!

Steep, off camber, crazy!!!! After about a half hour of hike-a-bike and taking pictures, I got to some rideable trail and recognized where I was. I finished up the ride and headed back into town for pizza and tea for the road. It is such a beautiful area that I had to stop every few mile to admire the scenery. Here are a few more photos...

Treasure Falls and a few photos from the top of Wolf Creek Pass, which may be one of my new favorite passes in Colorado.

Alright, enough already!!! Hope you enjoy the pics!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Yet another road trip

This time we headed westward to drier warmer climates (it started snowing this morning by the way) and ended up in Fruita for a few days. We left G.L. on Tuesday after getting a bunch of work-related errands out of the way so we could hit the road stress-free. Basically any time we travel anywhere near Edwards, we have to stop and see our buddy Frank who owns Moontime Cyclery there. You should also know that it's unheard of to show up at Moontime without a sixer of some tasty barley pop from the Cork & Bottle next door. This time our brew of choice was a delicious Red Truck IPA from the Palisade Brewery. After a few hours of shop b.s. we said goodbye to Frank and hello to the road!

The sunset was so beautiful that even Echo appreciated it!

We used a free La Quinta coupon we had (and upgraded to a jacuzzi suite) and hit the hay after a delicious meal at our favorite Fruita dining establishment, Fiesta Guadalajara. And a fiesta it was indeed! Man we love that place. Good service, awesome food, and the best margs this side of the border.

The next day we woke up and drove around Fruita for a while figuring out where we wanted to camp and where to ride the next day. Highline Park was the camp spot for the next two nights and the Kokopelli Trail side was the ride locale.
We gradually set up camp and enjoyed a few adult beverages which may have helped us come up with electrical tape as a broken tent pole solution!

We knew the last time we camped in Salida that a new tent pole was in our future but didn't know just how urgent that was. As you can see, we did a poor job at taping it up but it made it through 2 more nights!

After we got all set up at the camp site we meandered back into town for some grub at the Hot Tomato Cafe. Pretty tasty pizza joint across the street from OTE bike shop. I'd eat there again. New Belgium on tap with happy hour specials and live music. Not bad, not bad at all.

Pretty sunset we enjoyed during a walk by the lake.

The next day we decided to ride the Kokopelli side off the Loma exit and really had a great time. Usually we ride Mary's Loop to Horsethief, throw in Steve's for good measure and then ride Rustler's to wear out the dogs. This time instead of the first climb up Mary's we took the next climb (which was a bit steeper but definitely managable) which apparently was the Wrangler loop and connected it to Mary's, then Steve's, then part of a new trail but ended up turning around and riding Mary's back out. Then we picked up the dogs and did a quick lap around Rustler's.

Pictures never do the scenery justice!!! It was a perfect day to enjoy a little time in the saddle. The sun was shining and the views were spectacular.

After the ride we re-organized the vehicle and took a little break in the shade before heading in to town for food and then back to camp.

Beauty!!! Another amazing sunset on the lake. We took a fun lap around the lake at dusk before hitting the sack. All in all, a great day of riding.

The next and final day, we decided to try a ride at the top of the Colorado Monument. As we were cleaning up camp, I was loading up the bikes and noticed that a thorn was the culprit of a flat rear tire on Tim's Orbea. No big deal, flat tire, right?! So, I loaded the bike (after debating whether or not to change the flat before loading it on the rack) and we headed into town for a cup of coffee before heading to the trail. Grabbed the joe to go and started the beautiful drive up the Monument.

This is what we saw when we went to unload the bikes...

Tim's rear wheel was trashed! It looked like a potato chip! We don't exactly know what happened but assume that we must have hit a bump that was severe enough to crack the rim (which may have already been weak?) at the seam. We still don't fully understand how that happened. Oh well. Needless to say, our ride was shot so we decided to take a little hike instead. Not what we had in mind for the day, but nice nonetheless.

We enjoyed our trip so much that Tim & Rob are headed that direction again this week. Also, the 24 hours of Moab is this weekend so get out there and have a good time!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Last week Tim and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary by taking a relaxing trip to Salida! We camped, hiked, stayed in cheap motels, and rode the Monarch Crest Trail.

The first night we decided to stay in a hotel room since we rolled into town a bit late after indulging in some tasty tacos & margs in Leadville on the way. The first day was actually filled with snacks along the way...anniversary cheese fries were first on the list. We hit up the Dairy Delite in Hot Sulfur just after our departure from G.L. Yummy yet disgusting all at the same time.

Copper had a food coma after the cheese fries...

The next day we just acted like tourists. As we left the hotel that morning we ran into a cyclist (Matt) on his 1800th mile of the Great Divide Trail. He started in Banff, Alberta, Canada and was heading down towards his family near Austin. He stopped to chat when he noticed our 2 bikes on the back of our truck. We talked about his trip and the benefits and downfalls of 29" wheels compared to 26. He noticed Tim and I were both on big wheels and stated that he wouldn't be doing the trip on anything but! He also explained that the ride was not too much singletrack like the description suggests and his fully suspended Ventana was a waste of weight. The final geeky point I have to touch on (and then I'll get on with it, I promise) is that he was pulling a B.O.B. trailer and lamented over the fact that he didn't have just panniers. Again, not a necessary accessory: panniers would have been sufficient and easier to get around with. He ran into 6 other folks from the UK (all on 26" wheels) on the GDT also and they were caravaning and camping it together. We ended up camping next to them that night. Good luck guys & have a blast!!
That day we spent some quality time at the local coffee shop and set up camp on their deck with the lappy and a latte. Now we know why our customers are always smiling!! The Salida Cafe, or Bongo Billy's, is right on the river and conveniently located next door to Absolute Bikes which gets our vote as the coolest bike shop in town (there are actually 3 shops in Salida!). We really did as little as possible that day; just read guest guides and planned the rest of our stay.
We found a place to camp near town and after having a tasty dinner at The Twisted Cork we hit the hay in preparation for the big ride the next day. This little mushroom lived on one side of our tent, and the GDT crew lived on the other!

We caught a shuttle up to the parking area at Monarch Pass and hit the trail! So, here's the onslaught of MCT pics. Enjoy! We only got lost 3 times. No big deal!!! We decided to just use the little shitty map that we tore out of the mountain biking guide we picked up the day before. Bad idea. Just a suggestion to future Monarch riders: buy the real map. It's worth every penney of that $11.99!

The trail is super cool because of its diversity and incredible views from every direction. There's scree fields, rocky sections, steep jeep roads, scary switchbacky descents, and nothing but fun. Fun that is, until you're kinda lost for the second time and you'r hungry and the clouds are starting to say "get a move on." Luckily at that point we ran into 2 guys on atv's and they pointed us down the Silver Creek section that was the best singletrack of the trail in my opinion.

Tim looking cute at the first "we're kinda lost" point

I just want you to all look closely at the new trend I'm setting: sleeveless jersey and armwarmers. I know, I know, you wish you would have thought of it first. I'm just so dang innovative! (or geeky, whatever you want to call it.)

This little link gives you some maps descriptions and more pictures.

We finished it in about 5 +/- hours and made it back just before the thunderstorm arrived!

We love Salida because everyone is on their bikes!

Us: after a little time at Amicas, a cool little pizzeria and brewery. Um, we like their IPA.

Sorry Echo, you don't pose well with hats on. Copper, sadly, does. I'll have to get some other sweet Echo dawg pictures up here!

All in all, awesome trip. So great that we extended it by a day. We got back late Friday. Sleep now, must stop typing...