A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Picture Perfect Day

Saturday, November 22. Five days before Thanksgiving 2009. Castle Rock, Colorado. A picture perfect day. We woke this morning to one of those cold clear blue skies over Castle Rock. About 35 degrees. But with the sun shining bright it felt at least 10 degrees warmer.

Les took Casey to the dog park and I headed out on my bike. A classic summer Saturday morning. Except that it was late November! These bright, sunny "winter" days in Colorado are probably my favorite except, possibly, for the even brighter, sunny winter days with snow on the ground.

I love riding south from Castle Rock along Hwy 105/Perry Park Road, a two-lane country highway that heads from Sedalia, CO (named after Sedalia, MO) to Palmer Lake. The road is lined with ranches raising and grazing everything from llamas to bison.

This bison herd was right alongside the road today. Typically they hang back. This is as close as I've seen them in two years of riding along Hwy 105. If you look closely (click on the photo to enlarge)you can see a calf hanging out close to its momma (I assume, but don't claim to be a bison expert!).

I also saw a lot of horses and, of course, plenty of cattle. Occasionally I'll come across an unusual scene, such as the "menagerie a trois" (at left) featuring a horse, cow, bull and two goats (I know that's five, but menagerie a cinq isn't as funny). This struck me as rather unusual, but I didn't grow up on a ranch, so couldn't say for sure!

We've been enjoying quite a run of unseasonably warm weather this Fall with only one measurable snow event to date. I'm sure that will change soon and I'll be relegated to riding my new Cannondale on the indoor trainer I purchased last Spring so I could train for Ride the Rockies while recovering from surgery on my collarbone.

Speaking of Ride the Rockies, I'm planning to form my own team this year...Team BEEF, of course! Let me know if you are interested in joining. Registration opens on February 1 when the 2009 route is announced in the Denver Post.

Ride on!


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Summer's Last Hurrah

Welcome back to DDublog! It seems like just a couple of weeks have passed since my last post, but I just looked at the date and realized it's been two months. Where did summer go?! Today is officially the last full day of summer. Tomorrow at 11:44 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time marks the Autumnal Equinox and the beginning of Fall.

Although I do lament the passing of summer, Fall is my favorite time of year in Colorado. September days are sunny and warm (great riding weather) and the nights are clear and cool (great sleeping weather). I went for a 35-mile ride yesterday followed by a hike up to Castle Rock with my daughters and our dog Casey. So I took full advantage of the final week of summer to spend as much time outside as possible!

[Above: Posing with cattle at a ranch along Hwy 105; At left: Shelby, Haley and Casey sitting under the Rock, Below: Me and Casey under the Rock]

One year ago yesterday I went for a hike up Castle Rock with my daughter and our puppy Casey. That afternoon I headed out for a short ride. A few minutes and less than two miles later I was lying on my back in the middle of an intersection with a broken collar bone. I didn't think my ride would be THAT short!

[At left: Shelby and Haley under the Rock (it's a BIG rock!)]

Yes, besides marking the end of summer, this weekend marks the one year anniversary of the day I was "right hooked" by a car as I went on a sunny Saturday afternoon ride. I celebrated by going out for a 35-mile ride. I didn't ride past the scene of the accident. Instead, I turned left on Coachline and headed towards Wolfensberger Road and Highway 105 on my normal route. Many times in the days to follow I asked myself why I went straight on Foothills Drive on that Saturday afternoon a year ago. "If only" and What if" were common thoughts.

Coincidentally, I received a check in the mail yesterday from Nationwide Insurance in payment of "property damage claims...arising out of an accident on September 22, 2007." In other words, Nationwide had a "change of heart" (after my lawyer threatened to file a suit) and admitted liability on behalf of their insured and agreed to settle my case without going to court. This all happened a while back but I've been waiting to actually receive a check before claiming victory. This check will help pay for the new bike I purchased back in March (my old bike was totaled in the accident). Of course, there's still the much larger issue of personal injury.

[Above: my new Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 along Tomah Road (with Coyote Ridge in the background)]

I have an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon this week to check on the progress of healing from the surgery on March 18. The bone morphogenic protein seems to be doing it's job. I have a collar bone as thick as my femur! However, I'm still having issues with the nerve that runs from my right shoulder down my arm. While it's better than before the surgery, I still have constant tingling and occasional pain in my shoulder and along the entire length of my arm.

One year ago today I was sitting on my couch popping pain pills watching football. This morning I went for a 6-mile run before church then drove to Fox and Hound with Shelby to watch the Chiefs' inept attempt at ending their 11-game losing streak (a topic for another blog on another day). I couldn't have done either of those things one year ago. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, but today I am thankful for my health, Nationwide's change of heart and the change of seasons.

Ride on!


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Boilermaker Recap

No...I'm not still sitting at O'Hare airport. My last post was two weeks ago on my way home from Utica, NY, where I had just run the Boilermaker 15K Road Race (above: the Team ZIP 15K runners the morning of the big race). It was late Sunday evening and I was sitting in Chicago waiting for my flight to Denver.

I got home around 2:00 a.m. that Monday morning, the first day of the week-long Cattle Industry Summer Conference. It was a long week...I was barely able to walk on Monday and Tuesday then launched into three days of early mornings and late nights. By the time it was over on Saturday at noon I was ready to collapse...but I held off until 9:00 that night and didn't get up until 8:00 Sunday morning!

The Boilermaker was a great event. Last fall's Chicago Half Marathon was the debut run for Team ZIP, but the Boilermaker was our biggest showing to date -- over 100 runners and walkers between the 15K, 5K, 3-mile walk and kid's run (at left: posting a blog on my Blackberry about an hour before race time). It was amazing to see my beef jerseys on so many runners congregating at the starting line, strung out along the course and at the post-race party.

And it wasn't just my colleagues like Bucky (at left: crossing the finish line). There were a bunch of people I had never met before the weekend began. Runners from Oregon, Colorado, Minnesota, Massachussets, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York, Washington, D.C., and...how could I forget...KANSAS!

How could I forget the "swirling vortex of bad judgment" (aka, the Kansas Tornado)? Stephanie, Carrie and Barb (at left: cruising across the finish line after getting lei'd on the course). Barb is a bonafide rancher from Wamego, Kansas who only recently began running and completed her first race earlier this year...the Olathe Marathon.

Who runs a marathon their first race out? That's bad judgment.

Barb, Stephanie and Carrie agreed to go dancing with me and Bucky at Bucky's (at left: Bucky standing in front of Bucky's) the night before the race. Seriously, Bucky's was the closest watering hole to our hotel in Rome (New York). As we entered the bar, Bucky yells "BUCKY'S IN THE HOUSE!" and then shows his ID to the bartender to prove that he is named Bucky.

Who goes dancing until midnight with a guy named Bucky at a bar called Bucky's the night before a 15K? That's bad judgment.

Yes, we actually danced until midnight at Bucky's and got up at 5:00 the next morning to head to downtown Utica for the run. But we all still managed to finish the race with respectable times. My goal was to run 1:25 (around 9:00 min/mile) and I finished in 1:22:13 (8:43/mile). Of the five members of the swirling vortex, I finished second.

The first of us to cross the line was Barb, who passed me around mile seven and never looked back. So the whole week of summer conference she reveled in telling the story of how she left my "carcass" on the course. Who does that? That's bad judgment!

I was a few minutes (four per mile) off the pace of the men's winner (at left: #2 Terefe Maregu of Ethiopia finished #1 in the 2008 Boilermaker 15K) who finished in 44:17, a blistering pace of 4:45/mile!

Oh well, maybe next year. I've already started training so I can beat Barb. I bet her a steak dinner that I'd beat her next year at the Boilermaker 2009. She's so sure she's gonna win that she already placed her order: bone-in ribeye, medium rare. Make mine the same. Win or lose...we both win!


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sitting at O'Hare

Ah, the joys of travel. I was able to fly standby out of Syracuse on an earlier flight, which got me in to Chicago O'Hare in time to fly standby on a earlier flight to Denver...but I wasn't able to get on. So here I sit at the Chili's at O'Hare waiting for my flight to board. I'll get in to Denver at 12:15 a.m. (that's 2:15 eastern time) and get home around 1:30. Ugh. It's been a long day. Up early to run 15K, the post-race party, the post-post-race party for Team ZIP, the drive back to Syracuse in a downpour (at least it held off until after the run!) and I still have one more flight to get back to Denver. Fingers crossed. No delays!

Today's run was tough. I don't think my three weeks of training was enough! Around mile three I was not feeling strong and about to give up on reaching my goal (1:25). But then the crowd of spectators along the route and seeing lots of other Team ZIP runners on the course pumped me up and I ran strong until around mile 8. Then I started to fade. But I finished the last half mile strong, beat my goal by nearly two minutes, and felt good about the effort. After all, my number one goal is always just to finish the race. Not much chance I was going to run a sub-50 minute 15K and be in contention for the prize money!

Gotta run...or rather limp...to my gate to board. Wish me luck.


Boilermaker Finish!

Well, the big race is done. I finished in 1:22:16 - an average of 8:43/mile. I am very happy with my time, especially given that I have only been training for three weeks (following Ride the Rockies)!

The Boilermaker is a special event - the largest 15K in the country (about 12,000 runners). There were USA Olympic runners here and, of course, the ridiculously fast Kenyon runners. The atmosphere is crazy. I think the whole town was lining the course and cheering. We got tons of of "go BEEF" and "go Team ZIP" comments.

And, of course, we did several media interviews at the finish. Everybody loves beef and Team ZIP (we were BY FAR the biggest team in the race with over 100 runners).

My media interview tagline..."Beef. It's what's for dinner at the Boilermaker." So original :)


Its Raining, It's Pouring but Team ZIP is Soaring

We're at the starting line of the Boilermaker 15K in Utica, NY. The race starts in about 45 mins. After dancing at Bucky's last night, me, Bucky, Barb, Stephanie and Carrie (the Kansas tornadoes - aka the Swirling Vortex of Poor Judgement) got back to the hotel around midnight to get some sleep. We left the hotel at 6:00 am to drive to the starting line for our Team ZIP team photo at 7:00. Now we're standing around in the rain waiting for the pain to begin. Why do we do this to ourselves??

Oh yea, we're here to demonstrate the importance of beef in a healthy diet: Zinc, Iron and Protein. Fuel for the finish. So of course we all ate beef last night at the Savoy restaurant in Rome (before dancing at Bucky's).

Gotta run...go Team ZIP!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Live from Bucky's

it's 10:00 pm and I'm hanging out at Bucky's restaurant in Rome, NY, the night before the Boilermaker 15K Road Race in Utica. The best part if this story is that I'm with a guy named Bucky and three runners from the Kansas delegation for the Boilermaker. We picked "Bucky's" for the pre-race party for obvious reasons (it's the closest bar to the Econolodge in Rome).

We have over 100 "beef runners" from around the country. We are Team ZIP (Zinc/Iron/Protein). Utica and the Boilermaker will never be the same. Neither will we.

More tomorrow...


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Now Appearing at a Sports Authority Near You

Ever shop at Sports Authority? Well, the next time you visit one of the over 400 Sports Authority stores in 45 states, don't be surprised if you find me waiting in the lobby to greet you! No, I haven't given up my day job. And don't expect me to literally welcome you to the store like a Wal-Mart greeter. But you may just see me staring back at you from a poster on an easel beckoning you to join the Sports Authority team...

So, you ask, how did DDubs become the model Sports Authority employee? Well, I wasn't "discovered" in a mall. And apparently very few people caught my brief national TV debut on CNN two weeks ago. No, the real story is that my neighbor, Natalie, works in the HR department at Denver-based Sports Authority and needed a "40-something, semi-athletic male" for a new recruitment campaign. Of course, being the good neighbor that I am, I offered to play the part :)

So I showed up at the photography studio in downtown Denver one evening not knowing what to expect (hey, it was my first modeling gig!). I showed up in my "corporate" attire black pants, blue golf shirt) so that was the shot we did first...after "makeup." Standing in front of a blank, white screen, the photographer asked me to strike various poses and "laugh" on command.

Then it was time for the "action" shots. After changing into my running gear in the "dressing room" (a very small bathroom) they put me on a treadmill that had the front section removed and told me to start running. After finding a comfortable speed (6.0 mph), I jogged along as the photographer yelled out instructions like "stop smiling" and "look more serious." So I did.

It was a little strange running on a treadmill without the display and "handle bars" along the sides. And I couldn't look down at my feet the whole time. Then the photographer asked me to "exaggerate" my movements. I was sure I was going to fall flat on my face and end up in a crumpled heap behind the machine. But I never fell and the photographer was able to get at least one good shot of me running with my head up, looking serious.

Finally, I changed into khakis and a black "Sports Authority" golf shirt for the final shot, which I call my "store manager" look (at left). I look a lot happier in my "corporate" shot (at top), but seem pretty content as a store manager. As I understand it, the point of the campaign is to attract people who are passionate about sports -- whether its running, cycling, skiing, golf, or whatever -- to a career at Sports Authority.

If I wasn't so passionate about beef...


P.S. My "store manager" pose also appears on the "careers" section of the Sports Authority website. Click here to check it out!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ride the Rockies by the Numbers

I've shared my stories and pictures from Ride the Rockies 2008. I hope you enjoyed them. But its hard to relate the enormity of the entire experience with mere words and pictures. So here is the "tale of the tape" as recorded on my Garmin Edge 705 GPS-enabled cycling computer (at left):

421.8 total miles (RTR is advertised as 435 miles, but a footnote on the website explains that this includes a calculated number of miscellaneous miles around town, which I don't record)

30:01:43 hrs/mins/secs (total time "in the saddle" -- an average of just over five hours per day of riding)

31,054 ft. of total elevation gain (an average of 5,175 ft. -- or nearly a mile -- of climbing per day!)

14.05 average mph (this includes many hours of climbing up steep passes at 6-8 mph averaged with a few minutes of screaming down the other side at 50+ mph!)

125 bpm average heart rate (NOT pushing it...I'm a wimp)

80.0 rpm average (NOT high enough...would like to be 88-92!)

55.26 max speed (a new personal record)

21,668 calories burned* (3,611/day average)

* I didn't count how many calories I consumed, but I gained one pound on the ride, so I must have consumed more than 21,668!

So for all you fellow geeks out there, that's Ride the Rockies by the numbers.

Ride on!


Monday, June 23, 2008

Beef is What's for Dinner on Ride the Rockies!

I had a fun time promoting beef while on Ride the Rockies this year. I wore my Team ZIP (Zinc, Iron and Protein) jersey on four out of six days of riding and received lots of positive comments from fellow riders. I took every opportunity to talk to people about the benefits of beef protein in building and maintaining muscle mass on a long, endurance event (like a six-day, 400+ mile bike ride in the rockies!).

But the most shameless promotional opportunity came as I rode across the day three finish line in Montrose, Colorado. As I rode in I noticed a cameraman from KJCT Channel 8 (ABC) in Grand Junction. So I rode over and suggested that he should talk about the importance of nutrition on an event like RTR. To which he replied, "do you want to talk about it?" Of course, I was wearing my Beef jersey and said I'd be happy to!

So I did an interview on the spot and worked hard to get in a positive message about the power of beef protein. In the end, I was able to get one beef message into the piece. The final line of the piece is me saying, "Beef is what's for dinner on Ride the Rockies!" I'm actually quoted several times in the piece talking about the ride but they cut out some of my more substantive points about the benefits of lean beef in a healthy lifestyle (e.g., the amino acids in beef help repair muscle damaged in an intense workout).

Regardless, it's a great news feature on RTR from the perspective of a local community hosting the ride. Click on the link below to watch the segment...

Eat beef!


Sunday, June 22, 2008

More Ride the Rockies Pics!

Ride the Rockies 2008 is over but the memories will be long lasting. It was another epic ride featuring climbs over Lizard Head Pass (elev. 10,222 ft.), Dallas Divide (elev. 8,970 ft.), Cerro (elev. 7,950 ft.), Blue Mesa (elev. 9,288 ft.), Trout Creek Pass (elev. 9,346 ft.), and Hoosier Pass (elev. 11,542 ft.). But the king daddy of them all was Cottonwood Pass (elev. 12,126 ft.).

Day Six: Here I am in Almont, CO (elev. 8,018 ft) at the beginning of the climb up Cottonwood Pass. The pass opened on June 12, just in time for Ride the Rockies.

Day Six: At Taylor Park Reservoir (elev. 9,300 ft.) on the west side of the Continental Divide on the climb up Cottonwood Pass.

Day Six: The Beef vs. Pork showdown at Aid Station 4 (elev. 10,700 ft.) on the climb up Cottonwood Pass (beef won, of course).

Day Six: STILL on the climb up Cottonwood Pass. That's snow below...lots of it.

Day Six: A little free advertising in a seven foot tall snowbank on the side of the road up Cottonwood Pass (approx. elevation 11,500 ft.)

Day Six: At the summit of Cottonwood Pass (elev. 12,126 ft.)...finally. It took me about five hours to complete the 39-mile, 4,108 ft. climb (including stops). It was cold on the summit but I hung around long enough to revel in the moment and get my picture taken with the summit sign (waiting in a long line of cyclists).

Day Seven: At the finish line in Breckenridge after the long ride across South Park from Buena Vista and over Hoosier Pass (I didn't stop long enough to take any pictures...it was too cold and windy).

So the big ride is over and I'm not anxious to climb back in the saddle to ride my bike again anytime soon. But it won't be long (Wednesday is bike to work day in Colorado and I plan to ride!). And I'm already looking forward to the announcement of the route for Ride the Rockies 2009!

Thanks to all of my friends and family who offered words of encouragement and prayed for my safety. I felt and needed both. It's good to be home safe and sound with my family today and breathing a little easier.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Done Ridin'

I just crossed the finish line of Ride the Rockies 2008. What a great ride. Tough, beautiful, painful, awesome and over. I'm glad to be done but sad that its over. .

More later. Time to say goodbye to my RTR friends.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Over the Mountain and Through the Woods

I'm sitting in the Lariat Saloon in Buena Vista (pronounced byu-na by the locals) with Team Bar2Bar. Today's 75-mile ride over Cottonwood Pass was everything I expected it to be - long, steep and tough. I'm not sure the day off helped my legs. At times they responded to my brain's signal to speed up, other times they didn't. So I focused on enjoying the scenery as we rode up the pass on a dirt road that wound through a forest of evergreens and, eventually, snowbanks. Reaching the summit was awesome. The payoff.

A lot of people ask my why I do this. Reaching the summit of the highest point on the ride is why. That, and riding every mile. The feeling of accomplishment you get when you realize you did it. You reached the goal you trained hard for, rode hard for and endured pain for...its a really good feeling.

So tonight's the last night of Ride the Rockies 2008. One more long ride (69 miles) to get to Breckenridge. But first, we'll enjoy one more night on the town...such as it is. Buena Vista. The views from here may be good but the town itself isn't much to write home about. Its no Crested Butte or Telluride, that's for sure. Regardless, we'll find a way to have fun ;)

Party on.


Goodbye Crested Butte

Our brief respite from riding is over and today we tackle the first of two long rides to the finish line in Breckenridge. The stay here was relaxing, fun and the weather was perfect. I protein-loaded last night with a tasty filet of beef tenderloin (tenderloin is not only the tenderest cut of beef, its also one of the 29 leans cuts). Its about time to climb back on the saddle and ride back down the valley to Gunnison and over Cottonwood Pass to Buena Vista. This is the featured climb of the ride - over 4,000 ft. Of elevation gain. See you at the summit (elev. 12,126 ft.)!

Ride on!


Thursday, June 19, 2008


I finally found time and internet access to post some pictures. We're hanging out today in Crested Butte, CO, on our rest day. Thank goodness. I'm not sure I could have hopped back on my bike today. I would have but I would not have been happy about it :)

Day One: team DFL at the Start of the ride in Durango, CO. From left: Karen, Patty, Kent, Jane, and me (in my beef jersey).

Day Two: My camp in Cortez, with my beef jersey drying on my tent.

Day Three: Skinny catching a quick nap at Smuggler's in Telluride.

Day Four: At the Summit of Dallas Divide, near the Ralph Lauren Ranch.

Day Four: Beef tenderloin on the grill at Jeri's house in Montrose.

Day Four: The bike security area in Montrose, CO, under a full moon (the baseball field).

Day Four: My "home" in Montrose.

Day Five: Snowman Jr. (my constant travel companion entrusted to me by my daughter, H) hangs out listening to "Grass It Up" (a local bluegrass band) at the mountain resort in Crested Butte.

So our rest day is drawing to a close. time to head to the beer garden to groove to Shakedown Street (a Grateful Dead cover band), then to dinner at Timberline. Steakhouse. Of course.
Eat beef!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Running on Empty

OK, so I finished the ride. But I didn't finish strong. The last 19 miles were pure torture. The slight tailwind shifted and became a strong headwind. We ended the day the way it began, struggling against the wind on a long, steady upgrade.  Probably my least favorite thing to do...period!

But the longest day has ended and tomorrow is our day to rest up for the massive climb over Cottonwood Pass on Friday. Hallelujah!

Ride on (jusr not tomorrow).


Aid Station 5 - 73 miles and counting

Well, my prediction for todays ride has come true. The two early climbs killed my legs and I've been spinning along at high RPMs (but not much power) ever since. Now the heat, miles, and time in the saddle is taking its toll. Only 19 miles to Crested Butte, but its all uphill. Fortunately there's a slight tailwind. I love tailwind!

Ride on!


Halfway Home

We just reached the top of Blue Mesa Summit. Somewhere along the climb we passed the halfway mark for Ride the Rockies 2008. By my count, we've ridden about 220 miles and have 215 to go.

This morning's climb up Cerro and Blue Mesa was TOUGH. We've already climbed 3,367 ft. - a steady 6-8 percent grade - in 28.36 miles. To complicate matters, we rode into a strong headwind for the first 12 miles. I hate headwind.
Now we drop to Gunnison before making the final 30-mile climb to Crested Butte. The SAG wagon (aka "Van-O-Shame") will be picking up a lot of riders  today!

Ride on!


6:30 a.m. Wheels Up!

Its a beautiful morning in Montrose.  I'm refueled (beef, of course...thanks, Jeri!), rested and ready to ride...92 miles to Crested Butte. I should get there in about seven hours.

Ride on!


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Moonlight in Montrose

I'm sitting on the bleachers at Montrose High School watching a full moon rise over the mountains. It's a great end to a great day.

I had a good ride today. Legs felt good. Seat felt fine (except for the 10-mile stretch of "chip and seal" road with loose gravel).

I had an even better dinner at my old friend Jeri's house in Montrose. Beef tenderloin, twice-baked potatoes, and a blue-cheese, pine nut, raspberry vinaigrette salad. All this sitting on a huge deck overlooking the valley and mountains. It was a rare evening of civilization in the midst of a week of porta potties, communal showers and aid station food (bananas, oranges, Gatorade and water).

And now I'm headed back to my tent to rest up for tomorrow's 92-mile climb to Crested Butte.

Good night.


Daren Does Dallas Divide

Just reached the summit of Dallas Divide (elev. 8,715). I hammered up the pass averaging 16.5 over the first 31.32 miles. Just enjoyed lunch (pork carnitas, of course) with an amazing view of Mt. Sneffles (14er). Lots of downhill from here (with some more climbing mixed in).

Oh yea, the cleaning crew showed up at Poacher's Pub around 9:00 am and found my debit card lying on the floor. So, I got a late start and didn't see any other riders until just before Aid Station #1. Have passed many since then so am not DFL!  Time to fly.

Ride on!

Ride on!

Stuck in Telluride

I got up at 5:00 a.m. this morning after turning in early last night. Thought I'd get an early start on the 65-mile ride to Montrose to beat the heat. Unfortunately, I'm stuck here until Poacher's Pub opens in the Mountain Village. We had dinner at Poacher's last night and I left without my VISA debit card. Bummer.

So I packed up my tent, dropped off my bag at the luggage truck and rode into town to catch the gondola up to Mountain Village. On the way up I met a guy who told me Poacher's owner's wife, Katie, works at Telluride Ski and Golf Club. So I went there and met a guy named Matt who informed me that Katie doesn't work there anymore. Bummer again. But then when I explained my predicament he laughed and said Adam (the owner) and Katie (his wife) are neighbors. So Matt is working on tracking Katie down to see if Adam can come and retrieve my card.

Fortunately, Telluride Mountain Village is a beautiful spot and the coffee shop was open, so I'm sitting outside Poacher's enjoying my latte as the morning sun rises over the mountains. Sometimes we get in such a hurry to get on to the next town that we don't take time to enjoy the view. Not today. Not until I get my card back, at least. Then it will be rock and roll time.

I may truly be DFL today!


Monday, June 16, 2008


Well, we made it to Telluride and it was a heck of a ride. Turns out it wasn't all downhill from the Summit. I was thinking of Cottonwood Pass. In fact, we climbed another 700 ft. in the last 15 miles for a total of 4,539 ft. of elevation gain.

According to the Edge, I burned 4,375 calories so I rode straight to Smugglers Brewpub and pounded a bacon cheeseburger. Now I feel like a nap but have to head back to the school and set up my tent and get cleaned up. I'm not looking forward to getting back on the bike and peddling .7 miles back to the school. That won't feel good. Wonder if they'd just let me sleep here tonight...

Ride on...


Lizard head Summit!

We just reached the Summit of Lizard Head Pass. According to my Garmin Edge 705, we climbed 3,837 ft. In 62.62 miles (almost all uphill). It was a gorgeous ride. Just had some awesome pork carnitas from my favorite vendor on the ride. I'm a happy man! Now the fun part - 15 miles downhill to Smugglers Brewpub in Telluride.

Ride on!


Beautiful Dolores

Just rolled into Aid Station #1 on day two in Dolores, Colorado. Its a beautiful setting in a canyon along the Dolores River. The weather is perfect but heating up fast. Hopefully it will stay cool as we climb Lizard Head Pass. I'll check back in at the top!

Ride on...


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Ride the Rockies Day One

I made it safely and rather swiftly from Durango to Cortez. After the initial climb the route was mostly downhill. Thank goodness, because we were riding into a stiff headwind.

According to my Garmin Edge 705, I averaged 14.74 mph and burned 2,184 calories. Time to go eat!  Its hot and windy in Cortez this afternoon. Maybe I'll go find a nice, cool establishment for a burger and a beer!

Ride on!


Aid Station #1

Its a beautiful morning in Southern Colorado. I just rolled into Aid Station #1 after an 11-mile climb out of Durango on Hwy 160 towards Cortez. I feel great. Slept great, too. It was cold out but I was cozy and warm in my Marmot mummy bag. 

Time to rock on to Cortez to get a good campsite and find a nice spot to lay out and enjoy the sunshine.

Ride on!


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sittin at Steamworks

The bus FINALLY made it to Durango around 7:30 tonight. I reassembled my bike in record time, threw up my tent as the sun faded over the mountains and headed to Steamworks to meet up with my friends from Team DFL and Bar2Bar. Just had a Beef Philly with pablano peppers (so much better than green bell peppers!). Yum. The menu says they can substitute chicken for no additional cost. WHAT?? They should knock $5 off the price ($9) if you order chicken. Give me a break. Chicken is fowl.

Beef. It's what's for dinner on Ride the Rockies!

Ride on...


On the Bus to Durango

We just loaded up our bikes on a semi and boarded our bus from Denver International Airport to Durango, Colorado. I'm not looking forward to the 7.5 hour bus ride. We won't get in until after dark so It'll be an adventure finding a campsite and setting up my tent tonight. Guess that's what I get for missing the deadline to sign up and getting on the last bus to Durango! Fellow Team DFL member Kent did the same thing, so we're both on the bus with people who flew in from around the country for the big ride. At least we're on our way, but we will truly be DFL in Durango tonight! And we've already made some new friends, which is my favorite part of the ride.

Ride on!


Friday, June 13, 2008

Ride the Rockies 2008 Preview - Days 5 & 6: Crested Butte to Buena Vista

Day five is our "day off" on Ride the Rockies 2008. This is the first time we've had a "day off" in the three years I've done RTR. But after the brutal 92-mile ride from Montrose to Crested Butte on day four...and before a 75-mile ride over Cottonwood Pass to Buena Vista, I'm sure I'll be ready for a recovery day.

The 75-mile ride from Crested Butte to Buena Vista looks to be the second toughest day on RTR08. We drop for the first 18 miles but then begin the steady ascent over Cottonwood Pass -- the highest point of the ride (12,126 ft. above sea level). Unbelievably, Cottonwood Pass just opened yesterday (June 12)!.

Check out these photos of the snow at the top of the pass taken yesterday by a local resident (at left). Lots of snow...and apparently the temp was below freezing with strong winds. Please let it warm up this week!

Cold or not, reaching the summit of Cottonwood Pass will be the highlight of the trip. I love the feeling you get when you make it to the top. The goal. The accomplishment. The reward: enjoying a good lunch of pork carnitas from my friends who run one of the food wagons that follow the ride. I won't worry about eating too much this day, because the rest of the ride careens downhill for the final nine miles into Buena Vista, the final night of the trip.

One week from tomorrow RTR08 will end on a 67-mile ride from Buena Vista to Breckenridge crossing Trout Creek Pass (elev. 9,346 ft.) and Hoosier Pass (elev. 11,542 ft.). This will be toughest final day of my four Ride the Rockies. Fortunately we end on a 10-mile "victory coast" into Breckenridge.

But I don't want to think about the ride being over before it has even begun! Tomorrow morning (Saturday) I will catch a bus from Denver International Airport to Durango, Colorado. My bike is packed and now I need to go pack the rest of my gear for the week. We each get one bag they'll carry from stop to stop. One bag for my tent, sleeping bag, clothes, shoes, etc. -- so packing for the week is a challenge!

Ride on!


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ride the Rockies 2008 Preview - Day 4: Montrose to Crested Butte

I think day four will be the toughest day on Ride the Rockies 2008. Not only is it the longest day on the ride (92 miles), but we also have a net elevation gain of 3,102 ft. (from 5806 to 8908 ft. above sea level). Add to that the fact that we start with two STEEP climbs and end with a 30+ mile steady ascent. This is on top of the 191 miles we will have peddaled in the previous 3 days. Brutal. In fact, I'm tired just thinking about it. So I'm going to bed!

The silver lining to this cloudy day is that we get a day off in Crested Butte to recover and rest up for the climb over Cottonwood Pass (elev. 12,126 ft.) on day six.

Ride on...


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ride the Rockies 2008 Preview - Day 3: Telluride to Montrose

First, let me apologize for failing to post yesterday's preview of next Tuesday's leg of Ride the Rockies 2008. Does that make sense?


The point is that I skipped a day so I am going to take the easy route and copy and paste the information on Montrose, Colorado from the official Ride the Rockies website section on the host communities...

Montrose, CO * Elevation 5,806 ft.The scenery in Montrose is second to none. With the San Juan Mountains and the Grand Mesa within view and the Uncompahgre Plateau and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park just a short drive away, breathtaking views are abundant. Downtown Montrose houses a number of options for visitors to explore local history, including the Montrose County Historical Museum in the former Rio Grande Train Depot. Montrose is ideally located in the heart of the Uncompahgre Valley wine region. Visitors to the area can also enjoy a number of scenic golf courses, antique shops, and extraordinary fishing.

Second, I feel compelled to explain how to pronounce "Uncompahgre." On my first visit to Montrose on Ride the Rockies in 2005 (my first RTR), I struggled with this important detail. So I turned to the experts. According to Merriam Webster's online dictionary, the pronunciation is un-come-pah-gree.

Regardless, it's a beautiful area of Colorado. In 2005, we rode from Delta to Montrose the day after we climbed Grand Mesa, the largest Mesa on Earth (about 500 square miles), rising 5,000 feet above the surrounding valleys. Riding up Grand Mesa was the single toughest one-day ride I have ever completed (over 500 of the 2,000 riders that year didn't complete the ride). We started in Grand Junction at 5,000 ft. above sea level and climbed to 10,800 ft. and then dropped back down to 4,953 ft. in Delta. Finally, day three looks like fun. But after riding 126 miles in the previous two days, I'm sure it won't be easy. But we start with a mostly downhill cruise for the first 16 miles, then climb over 1,550 feet over the next 16 miles to cross the Dallas Divide (elevation 8,970) before dropping all the way to Montrose (elevation 5,800).

I look forward to retunring to Montrose. I seem to remember having fun there in 2005 :)

Ride on!


Monday, June 9, 2008

Ride the Rockies 2008 Preview - Day 2: Cortez to Telluride

Day one of Ride the Rockies 2008 takes us from Durango to Cortez, Colorado, a.k.a. Mesa Verde Country. Cortez was the starting line of RTR06, so they should be well prepared to handle 2,000 riders to the town of 13,401 (that's a 15% increase overnight!).

The 49-mile ride to Cortez should take about four hours with rest stops (and depending how late we stay at Steamworks in Durango Saturday night!).

After arriving at Montezuma-Cortez Middle School on Sunday afternoon, I plan to settle in at the New Belgium Beer Garden at the Cortez Cultural Center (open from 3:00-9:30 p.m.) and chill out to Ralph Dinosaur and the Fabulous Volcanoes (on stage from 6:30-9:30).

Seriously. Billed as a "musician, gifted entertainer and armchair philosopher," Ralph reportedly "always brings the party and good times." Now, I don't know Ralph, but gauging by the photos on his website (at left), I can see why they say, "Ralph continues to surprise even his most faithful fans...if you think you know Ralph, stand by to be amazed."

The Day two ride from Cortez to Telluride looks, well...sickening. After five relatively flat miles we hit a steep five mile climb from 6,201 ft to around 7,200 ft. We do get a brief stint of downhill to spin the lactic acid out of our legs before we embark on a 45-mile, 3,000+ ft. uphill climb from around 7,000 ft. to the top of Lizard Head Pass at 10,222 ft. Apparently the rock formation visible from the pass once resembled the head of a lizard until, "one night a loud rumble filled the area and local residents thought there had been an earthquake. However the next day it became apparent that there had been a large rock fall at the peak and it...lost it's lizard like appearance."

The last 15 miles are mostly downhill but there are several steep climbs that will be painful enough given the long climb and the toll of peddling over 120 miles in two days. I have a feeling we'll be exhausted rolling into Telluride, but the beauty of this mountain resort town should quickly refresh our spirit and the wide selection of restaurants should be sufficient to refuel our bodies.

I hope La Piazza del Villagio and Rustico have stocked up on pasta for the week. Italian restaurants are popular places along the route. After burning 3,000-4,000 calories, everybody wants to load up on carbs. But of course I'll be looking for a good steak, or maybe a veal piccata. Carbs are good short term fuel, but protein, especially quality proteins like beef (and veal) help repair damage to muscles after intense workouts and strenghten your immune system.

Actually, I'll probably skip the lines at the Italian restaurants and head to Tommy's Telluride for a pint of lager and a butter burger!

Stay tuned to tomrrow's preview of the route from Telluride to Montrose...a short little 65-mile ride over the Dallas Divide.

Ride on!


Sunday, June 8, 2008

Ride the Rockies 2008 Preview - Day 1: Durango to Cortez

Ride the Rockies 2008 starts one week from today (!) with a nice warmup ride (49 miles) from Durango to Cortez, Colorado, in the southern part of the state. With a population of 15,000, Durango is the largest town in southwestern Colorado. Near the Four Corners junction with New Mexico, Arizona and Utah, Durango isn't exactly on the beaten path. As the official tourism website says, "Those who live here choose to live here..." But Durango is a beautiful spot, nestled between red sandstone bluffs in the vast Animas River Valley and the dramatic peaks of the San Juan and Needle Mountains.

Durango was the first stop on Ride the Rockies 2006, which started in Cortez. So day one of RTR08 retraces the route we rode on the first day of RTR06. Most of what I remember from that day was how different the mountains look in this part of the state -- jagged, rocky peaks that shoot straight into the sky (at left: David and Kris on RTR06 with the San Juan Mountains in the distance). I'm looking forward to our return to Durango and Cortez, a small community that rolled out the red carpet for us two years ago.

After arriving in Durango I'll hook up with the rest of Team DFL, get registered and set up camp at Durango High School. Overnight accomodations in each host city include hotels (for wimps) and indoor camping and outdoor camping at a local school. I'm an outdoor camper (at left: my campsite in Durango on RTR06). I prefer the cool mountain air and atmosphere of "tent city" (the football field, baseball diamond, basically any place with grass). My fellow Team DFLers are indoor campers (along with hundreds of people packed like sardines in the gymnasium) .

After getting our situated we'll head to Steamworks Brew Pub to meet up with Team Bar2Bar, a team of strong riders who ride directly to a designated bar in each overnight town before setting up camp...or showering (At left: Team Bar2Bar and Team DFL reunite at the start of RTR07). OK, so I'll admit I often join them. Ride hard, play hard. That's my RTR motto! I'm sure we'll also see many of our old friends like Team Bob, Team Size Matters, Team Biker Chick, Mark and Jenn from Texas, and many more. After getting reacquainted over a few pints we'll head back to the high school to get some sleep.

The ride from Durango to Cortez begins with a nice climb from 6,512 ft. to 8,399 ft. above sea level in the first 15 miles. But from there we take a roller coaster ride to Cortez, which sits at 6,201 ft., with short, steep climbs around mile 20-25 and 35-38.

After arriving in Cortez I will get my tent set up and head to the New Belgium Brewery tent to begin carbo-loading for the next day. After a few Skinny Dips waiting for the rest of Team DFL to arrive and get cleaned up, we'll head to Mainstreet Restaurant & Brewery for dinner. Mainstreet will be a popular place with its eclectic menu of American, Italian, Mexican and German food. I just hope they don't run out of food. Two thousand riders descending upon a town like Cortez after a long ride is something like a plague of locusts!

After a good meal we'll head back to camp to get rest up for the 77 mile ride on day two from Cortez to Telluride, over Lizard Head Pass (elev. 10,222 ft). More on that ride tomorrow!

Ride on!


NOTE: Each day this week I will preview the ride for that day the following week, leading up to the start of RTR08 next Sunday. Stay tuned to DDublog for the scoop on the best restaurants, watering holes and other attractions along the 2008 Ride the Rockies route!