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, June 20, 2009

Ride the Rockies 2009: One for the Thumb!

Ride the Rockies 2009 has ended. My fifth straight year to complete the weeklong bike ride through the Colorado Rockies (hence the reference to the Pittsburgh Steelers goal to win a fifth Super Bowl ring...one for the thumb). I think this was my favorite of the five. As usual, it's a bittersweet time. I'm glad the ride is over but wish it didn't have to end!

[At left: me in my BEEF jersey at the start of day one]

This year's ride took us from Glenwood Springs 80 miles over McClure Pass (elev. 8,755) to Hotchkiss; from Hotchkiss 80 miles around the rim of the Black Canyon and Blue Mesa Reservoir to Gunnison; from Gunnison 66 miles over Monarch Pass (elev. 11,312 ft.) to Salida; from Salida (elev. 7,100 ft.) 59 miles up to Leadville (elev. 10,152 ft.); from Leadville past the Twin Lakes 55 miles over Independence Pass (elev. 12,095 ft. to Aspen; and finally, from Aspen 40 miles down to Glenwood Springs.

The ride was officially 380 miles in six days, but several of us added 20 miles onto the last day with an excursion from Aspen to the Maroon Bells (at left), one of the most scenic rides in Colorado, if not the entire United States. After climbing to the Maroon Bells we had a 50-mile downhill cruise to the finish line, with a stop at the Woody Creek Tavern for lunch (a must stop on any visit to the Roaring Fork River Valley).

The final day of Ride the Rockies 2009 was perhaps my favorite of the 33 days of riding RTR over the past five years. The ride up to Maroon Bells was worth every extra mile and the company of my old friends Chris from KC, Todd from Tulsa and new friend Gillian from New Jersey made it extra special.

I met Chris in 2002 on an MS150 ride in Kansas City and we later rode self-supported from KC to St. Louis on a personal fundraiser for breast cancer research we called "Ride MO for the Cure."

[Above: Chris and I broke out our old "Ride MO" jerseys on day two of Ride the Rockies]

I met Todd last year on Ride the Rockies and met Gillian by chance Friday morning on this year's ride after we ended up camping next to each other at Aspen High School (the Ritz Carlton of High Schools!).

[Above: (from left) me, Gillian, Chris and Todd at the New Belgium Beer Garden at the finish line]

Chris, Todd, Gillian and I finished the final 34 miles of Ride the Rockies 2009 (after leaving Woody Creek Tavern with a rockin' four-person paceline along the Rio Grande bicycle trail, averaging 19.8 mph into a stiff headwind! Still, between the diversion to Maroon Bells and lunch at Woody Creek Tavern, we were among the last (possibly DFL!) riders into the finish. But Ride the Rockies is not a race. It's a bike tour of Colorado. It's a vacation (and you don't gain weight!). It's a time to spend with old friends and meet some new ones. It's easy to make the mistake of hurrying to finish the ride and get home to a hot shower, clean clothes and a cozy bed. I have made that mistake in years past. Never again!

Ride the Rockies a great way to enjoy the beautiful Rocky Mountains, one of God's great creations. Living in Colorado it's easy to forget that we live in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I plan to bring my family back up to this area later this summer to visit Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, drive up the Roaring Fork river valley to the Maroon Bells and then over Independence Pass to historic Leadville/Lake County. What a wonderful weekend trip -- all within a few hours of Denver!

I wish I could share every moment, but below are a few from my photo journal of the trip. Of course, the pictures NEVER tell the whole story or do the scenery justice. You'l just have to come visit and experience for yourself!

My Ride the Rockies 2009 Photo Journal

Saturday, June 13: Chris and I head out from Castle Rock to Glenwood Springs for the start of Ride the Rockies 2009.

Sunday, June 14: Chris and I passed our first scenic "photo op" -- a waterfall along the ride from Glenwood SPrings to Hotchkiss.

Sunday, June 14: Chris sets a new PAR (personal altitude record) at the top of McClure Pass (elev. 8,755 ft.) -- a record he would shatter in the next several days.

Monday, June 15: Riding along the rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

Monday, June 15: I won an Old Chicago Ride the Rockies T-shirt singing the first verse of Jimmy Buffett's "Margaritaville" at the lunch stop -- for the third time in five years!

Monday, June 15: Our camp site at the Gunnison Community School (that's my blue/white/grey tent on the left and Chris' red/grey tent on the right).

Tuesday, June 16: Chris reached a new PAR at the summit of Monarch Pass (elev. 11,312 ft.).

Tuesday, June 16: Team DFL friends Tim and Patty celebrate crossing Monarch Pass at The Vic in Salida.

Tuesday, June 16: Team Bar2Bar faithful Lora, Woody and Paul (the pilot) kick back at The Vic.

Wednesday, June 17: Chris' triumphant return to the ER to pick up his X-rays and have his wrist taped for the ride to Leadville. So, as the story goes, Chris was screaming down Monarch Pass at 45 miles per hour when, suddenly, he arrived in Salida and hit a pothole riding five miles per hour two blocks from The Vic, sprained his wrist and and tore up his hand/knee.

Thursday, June 18: Tearing down our campsite in Leadville as we prepare to climb Independence Pass.

Thursday, June 18: It was in the low 30s at the Summit of Independence Pass (elev. 12,095 ft.) .

Thursday, June 18: Patty winds (and weaves!) her way to the top of Independence Pass.

Thursday, June 18: Chillin' at the New Belgium Beer Garden in Aspen with (from left) Chris, Todd from Tulsa, Jenny (aka "flip flop girl") and the Hankster.

Friday, June 19: Me, Todd and Chris on the ride up to the Maroon Bells (the snow-capped peaks in the distance).

Friday, June 19: Me, beef and the Maroon Bells.

Friday, June 19: Chris watches as workers load up the porta-potties at the final rest stop in Carbondale (food, water and Gatorade were already gone!). We were DFL!

Thus ends Ride the Rockies 2009. Along the way I eclipsed 2,000 miles to date for the year, a personal record of my own. All that training paid off. I felt stronger, rode harder and had more fun that any of my previous four RTRs.

So what's next? The Boilermaker 15K is three weeks away. Stay tuned for details on my next adventure in fitness!

Ride on!


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

1000 Miles and Counting!

Actually...1,038 miles and counting as of this morning. I just got in from a brisk 25-mile ride on a cold May morning in the Colorado Rockies. I love riding in morning. It's a great way to start the day (especially burning 1,232 calories!).

[Above: The green pastures and registered polled herefords of Statter Ranch at the corner of Perry Park Road/Hwy 105 and Tomah Road]

I rode the same route last night after work and put in 20 on Sunday, giving me 70 miles so far this week (I count Sunday as the first day of the week). Unfortunately I think that's all I'm going to get this week with work and travel interfering with my training! But no worries, with one month to Ride the Rockies I'm well ahead of where I was last year at this time (about 400 more miles in the saddle!).

After a snowy April and wet start to May (at least on the weekends), the weather finally warmed up enough for a good ride this past Saturday with my new riding buddies from the New Hope Cycling Group (a group of riders affiliated with New Hope Presbyterian Church in Castle Rock). It was bit chilly but sunny Saturday morning as we headed out for a strong 38-mile loop in and around Castle Rock.

Sunday (Mother's Day) turned cold and damp again but I was determined to ride outside so wound through Castle Rock for a casual 20 miles. The time I spent on the trainer is paying off as I finally get back out on the road. My legs feel good.
And my high protein, low carbon footprint diet (lot's of nutrient rich beef) is paying off, too. I've dropped 15 pounds of winter weight (I'm at my lowest weight in three years) but maintaining important muscle mass. It will be nice not to have to carry that extra weight up Independence Pass this year on Ride the Rockies!

Ride on!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Getting Ready to Ride!

After a few glimpses of spring and summer back in March, April has been a bust for riding outside. Warm weather (high 70s) this week melted the two feet of snow we got last weekend but I was traveling so wasn't able to take advantage of it. Today is a rare cloudy day in Denver and it's been raining off and on. We need the rain so I can't complain. It's just that I haven't been out on the road since mid-March!

I have been diligent about putting in the miles on my CycleOps Fluid2 trainer. I've logged over 800 miles to date...well ahead of where I was last year at this time (following the accident, surgery, etc.). Riding on the trainer is a great workout but can be very boring, especially when my Garmin Edge 305 runs out of battery power (as it did today).

Even though I am stationary so the GPS-enabled functions of the Edge (like the turn-by-turn directions and full mapping capability shown in this picture) are of no use on the trainer, I still use the Edge to track my miles (it has a wheel magnet backup for the GPS), RPMs (the Edge includes a magnet that attaches to the crank and gives a real-time readout of RPMs) and heart rate to make sure I am making the most of my workout. I try to keep my RPMs between 88 and 92 and vary my heart rate between 114 and 142 beats per minute.

Hopefully May will bring warmer, dry weather. I'm planning to start riding to/from work in May (as I did last year). My goal is to log 2,000 miles prior to the start of Ride the Rockies on June 14. That means I need to average about 170 miles per week over the next seven weeks. This should be doable unless my travel schedule keeps up at the pace I've been going!

The sun is peeking through the clouds now so we're going to take Casey for a walk. Maybe it will clear off tomorrow so I can get out on the road tomorrow after church.

Ride on...


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Springtime in Colorado!

It's springtime in Colorado and that means time to get back out on the bike and training for Ride the Rockies, right? WRONG! Springtime in Colorado means unpredictable weather. This weekend it meant over two feet of snow in Castle Rock!

I flew home from Dallas yesterday afternoon and when we landed in Denver it had just started to snow at DIA. By the time I reached Castle Rock (a little over an hour and 1,200 feet of elevation gain later) there was about a foot of heavy, wet snow on the ground that made great material for snowballs (above: the girls wage a snow ball fight across the driveway).

We woke this morning to another six or so inches on the drive and it snowed all day until about 5:00. The girls and I spent the better part of the afternoon building up our snow forts -- so much so that we never got around to resuming the snowball fight!

Haley and Natalie (our neighbor) also created a handsome snowman (at left). Throughout the day avalanches of snow rumbled down from our roof onto our front and back porch and driveway but there's still a lot of very heavy snow hanging overhead!

Leslie finally got to try out the snow shoes I got her for Christmas last year (07!). We haven't had this much snow since the day we moved into our house in December 06 -- the Blizzard of '06 (more than four feet of snow in 48 hours). Frankly, I've been a little disappointed in the past two winters. Snowshoeing on the ridge behind out house is a lot of fun and great exercise.

I was just outside and think the temperature is actually rising (we're supposed to hit 60 tomorrow and 70 on Monday!). I hope the snow doesn't all melt before we have a chance to get back out on the ridge in our snowshoes tomorrow...but I hope this is the last snow of the season. I'm ready to get my bike back out on the road. Less than two months until Ride the Rockies 2009.

Ride on!


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Ride the Rockies 2009 Begins and Ends in Glenwood Springs

In a little over two months Ride the Rockies 2009 will kick off in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. I can't wait! One of the reasons I am so excited about my fifth RTR is that the route takes us through four of my favorite Colorado mountain towns: Glenwood Springs, Salida, Leadville and Aspen. Since RTR2009 begins and end in Glenwood Springs I'll start there and offer some tips on making the most of your visits to Salida, Leadville and Aspen in future posts...

Glenwood Springs is one of Colorado's best kept secrets. Located at the confluence of the Roaring Fork and Colorado Rivers, Glenwood Springs features great river rafting and the world's largest hot springs swimming pool. When we rode into Glenwood on RTR2007 a forest fire offered incredible scenes of smoke rising into the air and a helicopter scooping water from the river to douse the flames.

After getting off the bike in 2007 I was content with visiting the Hot Springs Pool (at left: the perfect salve after a long day's ride!). But this year (since the ride ends on Friday and I'm sure I won't be ready for the party to end!), I plan to stay over until Saturday and visit Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. According to a good friend of mine who lives in Glenwood, this a "must see."

Apparently the "adventure" begins with a scenic gondola ride to the top of Iron Mountain to a mountain-top bar and grill with incredible views of the Roaring Fork Valley. I have to ride the Swing Shot (at left), a giant swing which launches you out over Glenwood Canyon 1,300 feet above the Colorado River!

"Of course you'll have to ride the mechanical bull (if you aren't too saddle sore already!)," says my friend Mandy. "If that's not enough you can try Colorado's only Alpine coaster, the climbing wall, bungee trampoline and laser tag. If you think you'll be too tired for all of that activity you can always take in a show at Colorado’s first 4D theater and then head back to the deck to watch the locals’ choice for best sunset with incredible views of the Roaring Fork Valley!"

Wow. I'm tired already! I may just have to chill on the deck with a cold beer :)

Ride on!


Sunday, March 22, 2009

High Protein, Low Carbon Diet

That's right, I said low carbon, not carb. In case you haven't heard, "low carbon" diets are all the rage with the food elitists -- those people who would starve half the world to death while insisting we should produce all food locally, organically and without the benefit of any modern technology.

Low carbon diets are based on the fanciful notion that the food we eat should have little or no impact on the environment. They blame agriculture, specifically livestock, for global climate change ("climate change" is the new term being substituted for global warming by the Chicken Little alarmists who aren't sure if the globe is warming or cooling...but are certain it's changing for the worse and human activity is to blame). They say cows are causing global warming. Really?

These nattering nabobs of negativism base their argument on a United Nations study that claims global livestock production contributes more to global warming than cars. What they won't tell you is that the same study says that deforestation in the Amazon accounts for one-third of the problem. News Flash: we are NOT deforesting to raise cattle or crops in the U.S. In fact, we have more forestland in the U.S. than we had a century ago. And we produce MORE food on LESS land today than ever before.

The hard truth is that all food production has an impact on the environment and unless we want to stop eating we need need to find a way to produce more food with less. And in the U.S. we are doing just that. But the truth is of little concern to the people spreading this propoganda because behind their veil of concern for the environment is their hidden agenda -- these are the same anti-fur, anti-leather, anti-meat, vegan activists who want you and me to stop eating meat entirely in favor of a tofu-laden, plant-based diet. By the way, much of the deforestation in the Amazon is to clear land to grow soybeans (used to make tofu). By the way, rice (a plant) is the number one agricultural contributor of methane to the environment.

As I prepare for Ride the Rockies I'm working hard at building lean muscle mass to power me and my bike over those 12,000+ ft. mountain passes. So I am eating plenty of lean protein -- beef, in particular -- as I train. Of course, I am also getting plenty of whole grains, eating lots of fruits and veggies and enjoying low and non-fat dairy products. It's a novel new diet called the Food Guide Pyramid based on the dietary guidelines for Americans.

Tonight's dinner is grilled beef tenderloin (one of the 29 lean cuts of beef) and sea bass (surf and turf!) with some red pepper and yellow squash (also grilled) and green beans. I just started the coals and put the tenderloin filet in a little Dale's. A little olive oil and sea salt on the sea bass and veggies and they'll go on the grill after I've seared the steak and moved it to the side (always sear steaks over direct heat for 3-5 mins per side to seal in the juices then move it off the coals and cook over indirect heat for 20-30 mins depending on thickness to get that perfect medium rare -- about 135F -- all the way through). In about 30 mins the whole meal will come of the grill just begging to be eaten. And it's low fat, high protein and high energy.

Oh, and by the way, this is also a low carbon meal. Beef has a very small carbon footprint, especially when you consider what you get -- a nutrient dense source of quality protein that helps fuel physical activity. It's nature's best tasting multivitamin!

Ride on!


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ride the Rockies Training Update

I just got in from a beautiful 45-mile round trip to Larkspur, Colorado. What an awesome day for a ride. Sunny, blue skies, temps in the 70s. A classic spring day in Colorado (and it's only March 21!).

Above: Three miles from home I rode to the top of Tessa Mesa, a future housing development featuring 35 acre lots with amazing of the Front Range, including three 14,000 ft. peaks -- Long's Peak and Mt. Evans to the north (behind me) and Pikes Peak to the south.

My training for Ride the Rockies is right on pace with recommendations on the official RTR website. I'm up to about 70 miles per week and have logged 500 miles since January 1 -- about 300 on my CycleOps Fluid2 trainer and 200 on the road.

I'm well ahead of where I was last year at this time, which was...let's see...ZERO! Heck, I didn't even have a bike to ride. One year ago today my old Cannondale was sitting in the garage with a huge dent in the top tube and I was sitting on the couch watching March Madness with my shoulder in a sling following surgery  to repair my busted collarbone on March 18. I didn't get my new Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 (triple) until late March and took my first ride on the trainer March 30.

Speaking of my surgery, I had my one year followup appointment with Dr. Loucks yesterday morning and everything is looking pretty good. The x-ray (below) shows plenty of new bone growth (the "cloudy" mass below the titanium plate and screws).

As you can see in the x-ray below taken on March 28, 1008 (ten days after surgery), there was a large gap in the collarbone (below the hole with no screw).
I have a lingering issue with tingling up and down my right arm that he says I will likely have for the rest of my life. The nerve that runs along my right collarbone gone hung up on a bone spur after the accident and was causing big problems before the surgery (couldn't use my thumb to grip). It got better after the surgery but at this point he doesn't think it will get any better...fortunately he doesn't think it will get any worse either.

The bottomline is that I'm able to get back out on my bike and enjoy the amazing views. And for that I am thankful. Today's ride was a little windy, as you can tell in the following video I took along Hwy 105 (Perry Park Road).

From this point I rode south (into the wind) on Hwy. 105 to Fox Farm Road, where I turned east towards Larkspur. I stopped at the Larkspur Corner Market to load up on water and Power Bars before cutting back across to Hwy 105 and heading home.

The tailwind was indeed a welcome boost as my legs began to tire. It was my longest ride since last fall but I felt good. I'm looking forward to many more training rides in this area as I prepare for my strongest RTR ever!

Ride on...


Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ride the Rockies - See you in June!

I must have checked my personal e-mail half a dozen times yesterday hoping to find an e-mail from Ride the Rockies. I checked it first thing when I woke up in my hotel room in Lincoln, before and after I worked out, before I left for the airport, after I landed back in Denver, and again as soon as I got home, which is when I finally saw the e-mail from "rtr" with the subject line "Ride the Rockies - See you in June."

After waiting for Comcast's new "SmartZone Communications" e-mail application to open (it is soooo sloooow), the first thing I saw was, "Congratulations! Your application for the 2009 Denver Post Ride The Rockies has been selected." That's all I needed to see. We're in!

I'm excited about the group riding as Team DFL this year -- Kris (our fearless/earless leader), Patty, Karen, Kent, Nitin, Chris, me and Hank, a friend we made on previous year's rides. I found out after my last post that Big Dave is out. Bummer.

This will be my fifth Ride the Rockies and I'm hoping to make it my best. I've already put in over 300 miles on my CycleOps Fluid2 trainer and several outdoor rides. At this time last year I had zero miles in the saddle. I didn't even have a bike to ride! My bent and broken Cannondale sat in the garage collecting dust and I did my best to stay in shape waiting for surgery to receive my bionic collarbone. I finally got on my bike on the trainer on March 30 last year. By that time this year I hope to have well over 500 miles under my belt!

It's a cold but sunny blue sky day here in Castle Rock so I'm headed on for a ride in a few minutes. As I climb over Wolfensberger Road I'll be thinking about climbing Independence Pass this June. As I drop into the valley towards Hwy 105, I'll be envisioning screaming down the pass into Aspen for the final night of the ride. It's gonna be sweet!

Ride on!


Friday, February 27, 2009


Yesterday I received an anonymous comment on my blog entry Ride the Rockies Registration Closes Today. "Self-aggrandizement is a much higher priority," wrote the reader in response to a good natured comment my mom had posted accusing me of working on my blog rather than returning her call that morning.

At first I was embarrassed so I deleted the anonymous comment (and my mom's comment that prompted it) and changed the settings on my blog so that I can moderate comments before they are posted.

Then I looked up self-aggrandizement. I mistakenly thought self-aggrandizement essentially meant "shameless self promotion" (which in many cases is an accurate description of BEEFMAN Bloggeth!). But then I looked it up. According to YourDictionary.com, self-aggrandizment is "the act of making oneself more powerful, wealthy, etc., esp. in a ruthless way."

BEEFMAN has neither made me more powerful or wealthy (I wish) and I don't think I've ever promoted myself in a way that is ruthless.

Today I received a comment from a reader in Washington State on my post from a few weeks ago, Is Colorado Bike Friendly? "Hi Daren, enjoyed your blog on RTR 2008. We made the lottery for 2009, so now I'm a little intimidated/scared. Thanks for all the tips."

Thanks, Barb (whom I have never met), I'm glad you appreciated the tips. Don't be scared. Just keep training. You'll be fine...and you will have the ride of your life! BTW, we also made it into the lottery. Maybe we'll meet each other on the ride. I'll be the guy wearing the "Beef. It's What's for Dinner" jersey shamelessly promoting beef as an important part of a healthy diet!

I guess when you put yourself out there on the internet you open yourself up to random insults and criticism. I have received both. Some coward even went to the extent of e-mailing my employer to complain about my shameless self-promotion without contacting me. Really? Seriously.

I started BEEFMAN as a way to keep my friends and family (and whoever else finds it interesting) up to date on my exploits without clogging their inbox with e-mails and multi-megabyte pictures. I'm not sure if the anonymous reader is a family member or friend just messing with me. If you are, please identify yourself in future comments so I can enjoy the joke.

But if "anonymous" is someone truly offended by my shameless self-promotion, then just don't bother reading. And don't bother commenting. I won't post comments from anonymous cowards.


P.S. While looking up self-aggrandizement I ran across a blog called Self-Aggrandizement, the story of Joshua Bryce Newman, "a 29-year old film mogul, entrepreneurial wunderkind, and general smart-ass, living in New York City." The first thing you see when you open Joshua's blog is the tagline: "Now with 137% more unabashed egotism!" I love it...and have enjoyed reading the random thoughts of Joshua Bryce Newman. Thanks, Anonymous, for leading me to this site. Check it out. You'll hate it!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Ride the Rockies Registration Closes Today!

Registration for Ride the Rockies 2009 officially closes today. Our team envelope is being hand-delivered by Kris (with a "K") as I write and includes registrations from me, Patty, Karen, Kent, Big Dave, Little Nitin, and a first-time rider, Chris (with a "Ch"). RTR typically receives more than 3,000 entries but only 2,000 riders will be picked in the lottery. We're hoping Kris' karma once again pays off and our envelope gets drawn!

I got to reminiscing about past Ride the Rockies this week and loaded a bunch of photos into a slide show (above). This got me thinking about how I got hooked up with this motley crew...

Big Dave (at left) and I met Kris and Patty when we showed up in Grand Junction for the start of Ride the Rockies 2005. Doing the Ride was Dave's idea. We were neighbors in KC and had talked about doing a week-long ride like RAGBRAI or Bike Across Kansas. But then Dave moved to Denver and I figured it would never happen until one day he calls and says he's thinking about doing Ride the Rockies. I immediately said, "I'm in" but secretely hoped we wouldn't get picked. After all, I thought riding up "puke hill" outside of KC was tough!

Then one day I got an letter in the mail and when I opened it the first word I saw was "Congratulations!" We were in. I started training as best I could on the hills around KC. Then, two weeks before the ride, Dave calls to tell me he was not going to be able to ride. He had been riding one Sunday morning and his heart rate got stuck bouncing around 180-200 beats per minute. After a visit to the ER, the doctors were able to bring his heart rate back down but encouraged him not to test it on Ride the Rockies! He was, however, gracious enough to pick me up at the airport and drive me to Grand Junction, which brings us back to Kris and Patty.

Dave hung out for the opening ceremonies in Grand Junction and that night we ran into Kris and Patty (at left with me in Leadville with Mt. Massive in the background) in a bar covered in temporary tattoos and stickers that read "Team DFL." So I bit on the hook and said, "What does DFL* stand for?" And the rest is history. We became fast friends and I have ridden with Team DFL every year since.

The following year Dave moved to Texas but came back to ride with Team DFL and brought his friend Nitin (at left) from Kansas City. Nitin is a big talker in a small package. For example, in a recent e-mail he said, "I have decided to commit to this year's RTR, work schedule be damned. Let me know who else is up for it. I am nursing an IT band injury and a hamstring injury, so some of you might be able to keep up with me (yes, that is an old fashioned diss and a challenge). The Ghetto part of your brain should be screaming - 'Oh No, He Didnnn't.'" Oh yes he did!

Somewhere along the way Kris and Patty picked up Karen and Kent (whose 2007 ride ended on day one when he got right-hooked by a car while riding down Rabbit Ears Pass into Steamboat Springs on a loaner Serotta). The next year Kent won the grand prize Serotta given away at the end of the ride. Coincidence or karma?
By the way, Patty won a bike in 2007, so I guess it's either Kris or Dave or my turn this year (unless the newbie, Chris, wins!).

Chris and I are old friends from Kansas City who met while riding in the Kansas City MS150 back in 2001 (or was it 2002, Chris?) and later rode from Kansas City to St. Louis in four days (400 miles). We called it "Ride MO for the Cure" and raised $16,820 between the two of us for breast cancer research (which we donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation). My mom and Chris' step-mom and mother-in-law are survivors of breast cancer and we both have young daughters, so it was a personal mission to do our part to put an end to this insidious disease. We had big dreams of turning it into an annual event. But, oddly, we couldn't really get the KC Komen chapter interested in what we were doing (until we presented them with a check for $16,820!). So Chris and I share the honor of being the only two riders on the first (and last) annual Ride Mo.

So that's the team for this year, that is if we get picked. We will receive notification one week from today. Stay tuned...

Ride on!


*I can tell you that DFL does not refer to the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor party nor is it text-speak for "dying from laughing." Hint: DFL refers to the last place finisher in a sporting event.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Training for Ride the Rockies 2009, Part II

In my last post I offered my training tips for Ride the Rockies...also known as "The Swollen Uvula Incident and other lessons I've learned over the past four years on Ride the Rockies." In doing so, I neglected to discuss one key element of surviving Ride the Rockies...nutrition. Providing proper fuel for your body is a critical component of training for and finishing Ride the Rockies.

This is one of the hardest lessons I've learned in my adult life...the key to leading a healthy, active lifestyle is eating right and getting some exercise! For those of you who didn't know me when, I once weighed a whopping 270 lbs! I was clinically obese.

[Above: That's me on the left with Santa Claus at the Agri/Washington office Christmas party, Dec. 1995; on the right at the KC MS150, Sept. 2001).

I was 30 years old, my second daughter was on the way and I was living a sedentary lifestyle. My idea of eating right was having a grilled spicy chicken sandwich with extra mayo, two slices of cheese and a large soda for lunch every day at the Korean deli next to my office on K Street.

At home we grilled a lot of boneless, skinless chicken breasts thinking we were eating healthy, but we coated it in KC Masterpiece barbecue sauce. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with KC Masterpiece (#2 ingredient is high fructose corn syrup). My point is that in order to make chicken palatable you have to add either mayo, cheese, barbecue sauce, or some other form of fat or carbohydrate to make it taste good.

So I changed my diet. Actually, I went on a diet with some encouragement from my younger brother who had begun selling a popular weight loss program with herbal supplements and shakes.* But I knew that, in the long run, if I was going to keep the weight off I needed to start getting some exercise, so I started riding my bike. I loved riding and went from 10 to 20 to 30 miles on Saturday mornings. Then a friend at Church of the Resurrection invited me to join a group of cyclists from the church training to ride in the Kansas City MS150 -- a two-day, 150-mile ride to raise money for multiple sclerosis research.

That Fall I finshed my first MS150. Eight years and seven MS150s, 10 sprint triathlons, one Ironman 70.3 and four Ride the Rockies later, I maintain that healthy weight and fuel my body with lean beef. Of course I also get plenty of carbs -- some good (whole grains and fruits) and some bad (sugars, liquids). But it's lean beef that fuels my body for long distance events and provides the provides the protein I need to build (or, at my age, maintain!) muscle mass.

[Above and Below: BEEF. It's What's For Dinner...on Ride the Rockies 2008)

Every athlete knows you need carbs for short term fuel and protein to repair and build muscle mass after intense workouts. What many don't know is that not all proteins are the same. Ounce for ounce, beef provides more essential nutrients and vitamins than other popular sources of protein. Beef gives my zinc for a healthy immune system, iron to help carry oxygen to my muscles (very important at high altitude) and vitamins B12 and B6 for energy.

The bottomline is that I don't eat eat much fowl these days. Why bother, when lean beef provides so many more nutrients and vitamins your body needs to stay active and healthy? And by the time you add something to chicken to make it taste good you're getting more fat than if you just grilled up a great lean Kansas City Strip or one of the other 29 lean cuts of beef.

Beef. It's What's For Dinner...on Ride the Rockies 2009!

Ride on!


*My brother switched to Melaleuca a few years ago and I am still one of his best customers! I love their sports nutrition products, as well as their home and body products.